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ConVal’s Caroline Trowbridge helps build girls hockey program

  • The ConVal girls hockey team hosted Berlin/Gorham on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 for the program's second game ever.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The ConVal girls hockey team hosted Berlin/Gorham on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 for the program's second game ever.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • The ConVal girls hockey team hosted Berlin/Gorham on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 for the program's second game ever.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The ConVal girls hockey team hosted Berlin/Gorham on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 for the program's second game ever.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • The ConVal girls hockey team hosted Berlin/Gorham on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 for the program's second game ever.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The ConVal girls hockey team hosted Berlin/Gorham on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 for the program's second game ever.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

It is still a little surreal for Caroline Trowbridge.

The ConVal senior never had any doubts that the school’s girls hockey program would get off the ground. She just wasn’t sure it would happen this quickly.

Trowbridge is what you would call the ring leader of it all. She is the one who began the discussions with friends and first talked with ConVal Athletic Director Jon Hall. She met with the ConVal School Board last fall and helped earn approval for the start up program.

By the winter, the team was in its first year of existence. Although it wasn’t the easiest of seasons, since the Cougars merely practiced and did not have a single game or scrimmage. But it was what had to be done.

While the numbers dwindled at the end of last winter, Trowbridge never lost sight of what she was trying to accomplish.

“When we were first talking about it, I had this image of myself on the ice in a uniform playing,” said Trowbridge.

So last spring, there was a decision to be made. Since there were fewer than 10 varsity girls hockey programs in the state and no junior varsity teams, the Cougars could either spend another year practicing or make the move to a varsity schedule. For Trowbridge, it was an easy decision.

“We always assumed we’d just hang in the middle area for a couple years and then when we realized we couldn’t get scrimmages with people unless we were a team, it was just like, ‘OK, I guess we’re going to go for it,’” she said. “There’s no way we could play another season like last year.”

While Trowbridge was the one who wanted the program to be added to the list of girls sports offered, she had little experience with the game. She had never really watched it and her ice time consisted of pond hockey during the winter with her family. But nevertheless, Trowbridge was passionate about the sport enough to do the initial leg work. Now, Trowbridge and 18 other girls are getting their chance to play high school hockey.

“I’m really glad I did it. I am very grateful to the other people that made it possible and I’m just super psyched to be able to play this season against other teams. That’s the best part about it,” said Trowbridge.

Trowbridge, like most of her teammates, played her first hockey game on Dec. 8 against Bishop Guertin. The final result was a 9-0 loss for ConVal, but that wasn’t what the ConVal senior took from the game. It was more about the experience. Most games will likely end up as lopsided defeats for the Cougars this season because that is just how it goes for new programs, especially ones stepping into the varsity ranks after just a year of practicing.

Trowbridge hopes that ConVal can pull out a win this season. She has looked over the schedule and sees a few possible games where the Cougars might be able to give their opponent a run for its money. And if she is able to score a goal this season it would be just another one of the small goals that gets accomplished.

“There’s still a huge learning curve after every game,” said Trowbridge. “There’s some conceptual stuff. I think once we really understand the game better, we will play better. I’m just taking it in stages so I can be better.”

While Trowbridge will have just one season to play on the ConVal girls hockey team, she will always have a special bond with the program because if it wasn’t for her persistence, there may have never been one.

“I think I am always going to be very connected to this team and even when I’m very far away from it, I think I will kind of treat it like a child,” said Trowbridge.

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