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Steamboat’s Ice Queen

Becky Brown embraces her time as the only girl on the Sailors' hockey team

Steamboat Springs High School senior Becky Brown is the only girl on the Sailors' varsity hockey team this season. Brown wants to play Division I hockey after taking a post grad year.
Austin Colbert

— As much as Becky Brown loves playing hockey with the boys, she acknowledges she misses the locker room camaraderie that came with playing with the girls.

“I always liked getting dressed with the team. Like with the girls, it’s always just fun,” Brown said. “You get to pump each other up, and I have to do that on my own. It’s a little weird having to be allowed to go into their locker room.”

Brown, a senior at Steamboat Springs High School, stands alone as the only girl on the Sailors’ hockey team this winter. While it’s not uncommon to have a female on what is usually an all-male team, each situation comes with its own obstacles.



Thankfully for Brown, she grew up in Steamboat and knows most of her teammates well. Having a locker room to herself is simply something she’s had to get used to during the early portion of the season.

“It was a question that come up — as in what would the camaraderie be with having a girl having to dress in the other locker room?” SSHS hockey coach Chris Campanelli said. “The locker room camaraderie might be missing a little bit for her, because she’s all by herself.”



But in the end, it’s all been worth it for Brown. She grew up playing hockey in Steamboat, and beginning in eighth grade, she started playing with teams on the Front Range. Last season, as a junior, she briefly moved to the Front Range for the sole purpose of pursuing her hockey dreams.

Now in her senior year, however, she quickly realized she didn’t want to finish her high school career anywhere but home. The wear and tear of traveling with the high-end Front Range teams had taken its toll, but she also didn’t want to come home and play with the girls here.

Brown wanted something that would push her to another level. So, she decided to play with the boys.

“I wanted to keep growing my skills, because I want to play college hockey. I wanted to keep learning. I feel like I’m doing that,” Brown said. “In the last four months of playing with the boys, I’ve probably learned and grown more than in a year of playing with girls. The guys are more serious about it and more skilled.”

The Sailors went 4-2 into the winter break and are ranked No. 7 in the state by chsaanow.com. Brown, a defensive player, has seen plenty of ice time during the first six games and is only getting better.

As this is her first time playing with boys, she has had to adjust to the more physical nature of the game that wasn’t there when she played with the girls. In most cases, girls hockey doesn’t allow hitting, which, as a defender, is now one of her primary duties with the Sailors.

“It was definitely a shock when I started hitting. I’m still not very good at it,” Brown said. “I’m big. I’m tall. I’m taller than some of them and bigger than some of them, so I think I’m just like a guy out there.”

Playing with the boys this season — as well as the time she spent playing on the Front Range — are parts of her plan to hopefully one day play college hockey.

Brown only turned 17 in August, making her one of the younger seniors. She plans to take a year after she graduates in the spring in hopes of playing hockey for an AAA team based out of Boston. Women’s hockey — particularly major Division I programs — hasn’t spread much beyond the East Coast, which is why if her collegiate dreams do come true, they will most likely keep her east of the Mississippi River.

“Everybody should always aspire to the next level,” Campanelli said. “I don’t care who you are. Always shoot for something higher and better. And that’s something that she’s doing. That’s the right attitude.”

Until those decisions are made and more options become available, Brown is enjoying her time playing alongside the boys. It’s not always been easy for her, but the difficulties of being the only girl on the team are outweighed by everything she is gaining from the experience.

“They play their music so loud that I can here it in the other locker rooms. So it works out, I guess,” Brown said with a laugh. “Sometimes, it’s a little weird, because it’s guys and a girl. But otherwise, they are so nice. I love playing with them. It’s definitely more fun than playing with girls. There is less drama. I just love it.”

The Sailors return to the ice Jan. 8 against Columbine at the Howelsen Ice Arena.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert


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