As Oswego State honors the rebirth of a women’s
varsity ice hockey team, new Head Coach Diane Dillon
looks to instill the importance of its history in the
21 new women who have joined the team.
Nearly 20 Oswego State Women’s Ice Hockey alumni and former coaches attended the reception on Nov. 11.
Sharing their experiences and memories were nearly 20
of Oswego State women’s ice hockey alumni at a
reception held Saturday, Nov. 11.
“We want to interact with you and share with you
because you are our history,” Dillon told the
Anne Potter Collins ’80,
inducted into Oswego’s Athletic Hall of Fame that
day for her participation on the women’s ice hockey
team, was thrilled to hear that Oswego had rekindled
the women’s program.
“Seeing Oswego have women’s hockey is heartwarming,”
she said. “It brought back a lot of memories.”
For Collins, her time on the ice means memories that
will last a lifetime. She was excited to join so many
of her fellow teammates at the reception.
“It is absolutely incredible to see all the old
faces, rekindling old friendships and making new,”
Alumni from as far back as 1974 had the opportunity
to talk with the current Laker women about how the program
has evolved throughout the years.
“The ice in Romney turned our feet to stone,”
Collins said. “It was so cold that sometimes when
we skated it would actually chip under our feet.”
Oswego women’s ice hockey pioneer Linda
Cohn ’81 mingled with hockey goalie Erin
Robson ’10, who not only plays the same
position as Cohn did but also wears the same number,
No. 1. Each with her own perky personality, the two
were heard saying, “I love hockey.”
Also in attendance at the reception was Nancy
BeGell Smith ’75, who played on the first-ever
Oswego women’s ice hockey team. Smith fondly remembers
playing against Potsdam, St. Lawrence and Cornell. The
team played five games that first year and lost them
Smith was quick to note that the women’s ice time
for practicing was “awful.” They were suited
and in the frigid air of Romney Field House from 6 to
8 a.m. and from 8 to 10 p.m. every day.
“We had to wait until the men were done,”
Smith said. “It was the last thing that we did
at night and the first thing we did when we woke up,
so it was really in our blood.”
Many of the women remembered having to buy their own
equipment, like mouth guards and skates. However, the
worst was wearing hand-me-down jerseys from the men’s
junior varsity team.
Stacey Caruso-Sharpe ’78
remembers a game day when her team’s jerseys were
nowhere to be found. After searching the locker room,
the washer and the dryer, Sharpe’s coach finally
discovered the uniform tops — on the ice. The
men’s JV team was in the middle of playing a game.
As the men skated off the ice they were told to take
off their jerseys. Caruso-Sharpe’s coach appeared
in the locker room with a pile of stinky shirts and
directed the women to put them on.
“We were the team that had no money,” Caruso-Sharpe
said. “We were rag-tag rugged. We worked our butts
off the first year.”
Now, 20 years later, the participants on the new women’s
ice hockey team are working just as hard. The team,
consisting of players from British Columbia, Canada,
Alaska and Texas, has come together to play hard and
continue the lasting memory of a successful women’s
ice hockey program on campus.
The alumni had quite an emotional visit as they mingled
with old teammates and new players, and were welcomed
into Oswego’s new Campus Center to watch the Laker
women take on Neumann in their 6th game of the season.
“A lot of memories came flooding back,”
Smith said after watching the game. “I wished
I was on the ice.”
For many hockey alumni like Alison
Frisbie ’79, the Campus Center was a pleasing
However, it just didn’t have the same feel as
playing in Romney.
“This rink is just unbelievable,” Frisbie
said. “But I tell you, I would never trade this
rink for the hard work and team work that we had. We
had to depend on each other, because we didn’t
have all this support of the college. There is nothing
compared to the camaraderie you have in hockey.”
Players reminisced about walking through blizzards to
get to practice and listening to their theme song, “Revolution”
by the Beatles. Looking back many see now just how well
that song fit. There was in fact a true revolution in
the making for Oswego State’s women’s athletics.
Cohn had trouble describing in words what it was like
to see the new facility and the equipment and uniforms
that have been applied to the women’s program.
“The first feeling is a selfish feeling,”
she said. “Can I suit up? Can I play? The second
thing that comes to mind is I’m glad that it’s
equal.” Cohn also acknowledged the growing fan
base, which has quadrupled since she was on the ice.
As the reception came to a close Teresa
Podolec Ross ’84 remembered eating at the
Bluebird Diner at Colgate College after a hockey game
and Denise Lepine Krohn ’83
remembered the impact that playing ice hockey had on
her college career.
“If it wasn’t for hockey I wouldn’t
have made it through school,” Krohn said. “I
wasn’t the best student, but I wanted to skate.”
“We were not thinking at the time that we were
blazing a trail for all women athletes,” Krohn
added in an e-mail. “We just wanted to be able
to play and be taken seriously. … If through our
endeavors we helped pave the way for future women athletes,
then my time playing hockey at Oswego has an extra special
Looking into the crowd of past Oswego State women’s
ice hockey players and coaches, Dillon shared praise
for the transformation that was happening on campus.
“To be able to compete like this on a regular
basis and keep your wits in school,” Dillon said
about the women’s ice hockey program, smiling.
“It’s a whole new world, ladies.”
For more photos of the event, check out the photo
— Emily King ’05
To December 2006 E-Newsletter