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Girls Hockey: A Lone Spartan Among the Stars

After Richfield High School disbanded its girls program for the season, Alyson Niesen joined the team from the Academy of Holy Angels.

To the naked eye, nothing seems out of place—with the exception of a few strands of hair, which is normal for female hockey players. The girls listen patiently as coach Jon Dondore tells them to be aggressive but smart. They also offer words of encouragement to their fellow teammates. One would never know a lone player from the rival Spartans has joined the Stars from .  

“The team and the families have been very welcoming,” Alyson Niesen, a  student, told Richfield Patch. “I was really nervous—being the new girl—but as soon as I walked into the rink, one of [my new teammates] came over to me so excited.”

Niesen, who had played hockey for her school, joined the girls' hockey team a few weeks ago with the  and  for lack of players.

“It was really sad because it seemed like it all dissolved so quickly,” Niesen recalled. “I wanted my last year, my senior year, to be [at Richfield]. I honestly never thought I would be playing for Holy Angels right now.”

Since the ending of the Richfield team, for not being more proactive to keep the program.

“We saw this happening a couple years ago,” Niesen said. “I feel there could’ve been a lot of more action taken.”

While Niesen didn’t know exactly what that action might have been, she did say the handful of players who decided not to play also contributed to the team’s demise.

“I give them all the credit for doing things for themselves,” Neisen said. “But at the same time, it’s a team effort. We’ve all played together since Mites.”

Niesen has held onto her goal to play college hockey and that she’d do whatever it took to reach her goal—even joining up with a rival team.

“That’s what I want. I want to play college hockey,” Neisen said. “I’m really lucky to have had support [from both Holy Angels and Richfield] in reaching my goals.”

While Niesen said she is extremely happy to be part of the Stars family, she’s still looks back fondly on her experience on the ice with her schoolmates.

“I know the Richfield team has not been the most [successful] team,” she said. “But it has always been the upmost fun to play with those girls.”

Kay Nelson December 23, 2011 at 06:21 PM
I think with the current economy and schools having to fight for funding, this is a win/win situation.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) December 26, 2011 at 04:36 PM
Thanks for sharing Kay. Do you think a co-op will end up happening? Holy Angels agreed to revisit the subject at the end of the year, but they originally said no.
Kay Nelson December 26, 2011 at 04:39 PM
My kids graduated from RHS in the 80's so I haven't kept up with school politics. But I believe in the common good. (My two were in music and dance line)

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