Ripley Bellio, Kelsie Pomeroy and Sarah White originally got into hockey because they each had a brother who was interested in the sport.
But, they all stayed with it because it was something they found that they loved.
Bellio, Pomeroy, White and Taylor Shrode are the female presence on the ice for Craig’s oldest levels of youth hockey.
Moffat County High School freshmen Bellio and White, both 14, play on the Craig Cougars Bantam team for ages 13 to 14, while sophomores Pomeroy, 16, and Shrode, 15, skate for the Moffat County Bulldogs club hockey team, ages 15 to 18.
Shrode said she started playing when a friend of her parents insisted that she play for his Peewee team.
“I just started skating, and it stuck,” she said. “I was the first one who skated in my family. I got my sister to do it, then my mom, but we haven’t gotten my dad on the ice yet.”
This is Shrode’s first year on the Bulldog club team.
“So far, it’s really great. Me and Kelsie get along great and all the guys are supporting us,” Shrode said. They seem to really like us out there, and it’s not like we’re just taking up space. We’re actually doing something out there.”
Pomeroy started on the team last year.
“They make it so you feel like you’re a part of the team, and that’s good,” she said. “We were really skillful last year, but I think this year, we’ll be closer and it’ll be more connected and I think we’ll do better.”
Pomeroy mostly plays defense for the Bulldogs.
“Last year they put me as a wing, and for that, you have to be a better stick-handler and shooter,” she said. “For defense, it’s a lot more physical, and I think it’s a lot more fun.”
White has the same outlook on the Bantam level, though her coaches have had different ideas.
“I played defense my entire life, and this year, they decided I needed to play up and moved me to forward,” she said.
Two games into the season, White is one of the Cougars’ top players pointwise, with one goal and two assists.
“I’m getting the hang of it, but I’m defense at heart,” she said.
Bellio, on the other hand, prefers playing offense.
“I’m a forward wing and I’ve always been that,” she said. “I enjoy it so much and I would be totally lost if I were on D.”
Bellio and Shrode also play hockey outside of Craig, commuting biweekly to play on the Colorado Springs Amateur Hockey Association’s girls U19 — under age 19 — team, the Tigers.
“All the girls are really close, and we always have a good time whenever we go up there,” Bellio said.
Shrode said that although she enjoys playing on an all-girl team, she prefers playing mixed in with the boys in Craig.
“I think it’s more competitive,” Shrode said. “The boys are a lot more aggressive, but that’s just them. The girls are aggressive, too, but they play a lot smarter than the guys.”