A group of North Country Community College student athletes are helping to make the inaugural season of women’s hockey at Paul Smith’s College a reality.
Nine young women who are attending NCCC have laced up skates and hit the ice for the Bobcats this season through an agreement between the two colleges.
Some of the NCCC players say they are considering enrolling at Paul Smith’s after they graduate, so they can complete a four-year degree and continue to play hockey. Those who do could take advantage of a unique 2+2 agreement between the colleges that allows NCCC graduates who enroll full time at Paul Smith’s to pay state-level tuition rates. There are 20 program pathways for NCCC graduates to enhance their associate’s degree by continuing their education at Paul Smith’s.
This is the first time NCCC student athletes have had the opportunity to play hockey since the college discontinued women’s hockey in 2006 and men’s in 2009.
Casey Gerrish, a Potsdam native and Paul Smith’s College graduate, said the partnership between the two local colleges came about this fall when he needed additional players to round out the roster. Gerrish’s uncle Tim Gerrish coached North Country’s men’s hockey program for 25 years, leading the Saints to a national championship in 1995.
Gerrish and John Morgan, Paul Smith’s director of sports initiatives, reached out to NCCC Athletic Director Chad LaDue to talk about the possibility of creating a combined team.
Some of the NCCC players on the Paul Smith’s women’s team had played hockey before, but a few had less experience. Colby Reynolds, a Health Sciences major from Rutland, Vt., said she hadn’t played much hockey at all before joining the team.
In addition to Reynolds, Thrasher and Marscham, the NCCC women on the team are Jenny DeJung and Nidia DeArmaYero of Akwesasne, McKenna Yette of Potsdam, Kate MacDevitt of Essex, Chelle O’Neill of Rainbow Lake, Allie Chamberlain of Tupper Lake and Lindsay Reeve of Saranac Lake.
The Bobcats are playing in the Independent Women’s Club Hockey League, which is comprised of college teams from across New England. They’re 7-3 on the season thus far. Their last game, on Dec. 14, was a 6-3 victory on home ice at the Saranac Lake Civic Center. DeArmaYero, who this fall became NCCC’s all-time leading scorer in women’s soccer, netted a hat trick in the win.
The Bobcats are on winter break now. They have three games in January before playoffs begin in February.
Photo: The North Country Community College students playing for the Paul Smith’s College women’s hockey team include, from left, Ruth Marscham, Colby Reynolds, Allie Chamberlain, Chelle O’Neill, Lindsay Reeve, Nidia DeArmaYero, Anna Thrasher. Not pictured are Kate MacDevitt, Jenny DeJung and McKenna Yette, provided.