Craig Kelsie Pomeroy doesn’t skip drills because she’s a girl.
She doesn’t ask for special treatment because a ponytail sticks out underneath her helmet.
All she asks is that her teammates give her the puck when she’s poised to score.
Pomeroy, 15, is the sole girl on the Moffat County Bulldog Club Hockey team.
This year represents several firsts for the freshman as she switches from defense to wing and skates without any other girls on the ice.
“It’s different — being the only girl isn’t the greatest, but it’s not bad, either,” she said. “There’s no one to talk to in the locker room, but it’s good because I get more attention and the coaches seem to help me more.”
As she advanced from squirts to peewees and from bantams to the high school level, Pomeroy has watched the number of other girl hockey players drop.
“We had more girls when I started, because we were real young,” she said, adding her love of hockey has kept her lacing her skates year after year. “Because I have a lot fun with it, it’s something I’ve always wanted to stay with.”
Pomeroy said she would keep playing as long as she can.
“I’ve always thought it would be really cool to go on to play in college,” she said. “If I make it that far, I hope to get a scholarship to play.”
Pomeroy chose hockey over other sports after her brother, Joel, laced up his skates.
“My brother wanted to play hockey and after he started playing I wanted to be like him,” she said. “So I started playing.”
That first year, a love between Pomeroy and the ice began.
“I just always had fun with it,” she said. “Starting with my first year to now. I also play volleyball and soccer, but hockey is probably the most important to me because that’s where I put in my time and money.”
Pomeroy said she comes from a hockey family.
“My dad plays hockey, and he tries to get me to go out and stick-handle as much as I can,” she said. “My mom wants me to have fun and take it as seriously as I want to.”
Pomeroy is finding herself lined up against serious competition this year.
“They’re a lot faster than I am, which is something I need to work on,” she said. “I want to score at least once, and never quit or complain.”
Walker Criswell, Moffat County Bulldog coach, said Pomeroy came into the season ready to get out on the ice.
“First impression, Kelsie came in eager to play hockey,” he said. “She was ready to go, and I know she has played a lot of hockey and is ready to give it another go this season.”
Criswell said Pomeroy isn’t the first girl to try out for the team, but there aren’t a lot who do.
“Common? No — but it’s not totally uncommon, either,” he said.
This year, Pomeroy is expected to get some playing time to get familiar with the midget (high school) level game.
“We have a large team, a lot of experienced players coming back,” Criswell said. “Kelsie is a first-year midget, so we would like to see her come out of this season with a good understanding of the systems we run.”
If she can do that, next year she will be one of the top players on the team, Criswell said.
“We’re hoping she has fun and has a good season,” he said. “We hope she improves her skills so next year she can step up and be one of the people to carry the load for us.”
At the end of this season, Pomeroy hopes her teammates look back fondly.
“I hope that they’re glad I’m on the team and that I contributed and helped,” she said.
Not to be left out, Pomeroy participates in every drill in practice.
“The boys hit harder,” she said. “They don’t hit me as hard as they can. It’s kind of cool that they look after me, but I think if they hit me their hardest it would hurt really, really bad, so I’m thankful they don’t.”
Being a girl could have its advantages, though.
“This year, they probably won’t pay much attention to me,” she said. “So hopefully I can get some unexpected goals.”
Despite having to learn a new system and playing against bigger defenders, Pomeroy said she is happy to be skating with the boys.
“They push me a lot, and I try to keep up with them,” she said. “I’m not just trying to stay with one girl.”
If she had to choose between a team full of girls or a team full of boys, the answer would be the same each time.
“I would probably stay with the guys,” she said. “I had a friend who moved last year and now plays on an all-girls team. She said there is a lot more drama.”