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Girls 14U Hockey prepping for nationals

Mar. 22—CHAZY — While a majority of the North Country is making its return to outdoor sports, a select few are remaining indoors for just a bit longer.

The Chazy Girls 14U Selects hockey team is making plans to head to South Dakota for the 2024 USA Hockey National Championships 14U Tier 2 Division.

"We will be heading to the national tournament as the number 15 ranked Tier 2 team in the USA," head coach Mike Beaney said. "We will be seeded in the top flight and play against the very best Tier 2 teams in the country."

It's been a magical season for Chazy as they've compiled a 42-7-6 overall record with two lengthy winning streaks.

"We've had two good streaks," Beaney said. "We had a 24-game unbeaten streak and a 14-game unbeaten streak leading into the finals at the state tournament.

"We are 11-0 against 16U teams, and we are 13-2 when we had just eight skaters and a goalie."

It's a long season and players can't always make games due to prior commitments, but the players can't wait to be together to play the sport they love.

"These girls know each other from past years competing against each other and playing together in summer hockey," Beaney said. "It's amazing how they genuinely get along and care for each other. Getting together on the weekends and competing is something that they all look forward to."

While the members of the team have played with each other over the years, it's just recently that the 14U team was created. In fact, this is just the second season the team has been around as Beaney saw an opportunity to start it.

"Two years ago, my daughter played for Kyle Sweenor on his 12U boys Chazy Selects team," he said. "When the players aged out of 12U, I went to the board and asked them if I could build a 14U girls team in Chazy.

"The board gladly approved knowing we were going to have to be creative to be able to build a competitive roster."

And creative it was as players across the North Country, including one from Vermont, comprised the team.

But, it didn't take long for the team to get to know each other.

"We held tryouts last spring and were able to pick up key players to compliment our returning roster," Beaney said. "We were also able to pick up a couple of players from the central region — once they realized their team was not tournament bound.

"These girls (from the central region) played on summer teams with girls from our team so there was a lot of familiarity there — no one needed to introduce themself."

The team has played all over. Scott's Memorial Rink in Chazy to the Utica area has been a primary focus. The team also played in South Burlington, Vt., and in Canada, specifically Cornwall, Ontario.

No matter where they play, the goal has always been the same: to push for the state tournament and go as far as they can.

"The goal is to win the state tournament every year," Beaney said. "The most important games of the season are the state qualifying games where you have to play everyone in your section twice."

"They took the top three teams from the North Section, which we were one of. At the state tournament every game is the most important game of your season — particularly the crossover game. If you win the crossover game, you not only advance to the state tournament finals, but you also punch your ticket for the national tournament. We were fortunate enough to win the crossover game this year."

Now the team is preparing to make the long trip to Sioux Falls, S.D. for the national tournament which is held April 3 to 7.

While the schedule isn't known yet, Beaney believes there will be a minimum of three or four games the girls will get to play.

The ticket may be punched, but the biggest obstacle remains in getting there. Currently, the hockey team is doing fundraising to help offset the costs of getting the team to South Dakota.

"We're still plugging away," Beaney said.

"The issue is, there's really no time to fundraise. We haven't hit our goal, but we're working towards a goal and we appreciate everyone's efforts. The donations and generosity so far have been outstanding, but we are a ways away from our goal."

If anyone wishes to contribute, Beaney said there are multiple ways people can donate to help.

"We have a Venmo account set up at @chazyselects," he said.

"There is a 99pledges.com fund on Facebook as well. and then they can simply write a check to Chazy Youth Hockey. They can certainly contact me."

Beaney said he, the players and their parents are thankful for the outpouring of support. The best way to reach him is via email at mbeaney76@gmail.com.

Simply put 14U Girls Selects Nationals in the memo on any check written. The deadline the team has for fundraising is April 30.

The Chazy U14 team is looking to become the second Chazy Youth Hockey team to win a national championship. The U19 girls won the title with an overtime win against Michigan in the 2013 tournament in San Jose, Calif.

With just over a week before the team makes travels to South Dakota, Beaney said the goals remain the same as they always have been.

"When we go out there we're gonna have fun competing against the best teams Tier 2 has to offer," he said.

"We have absolutely nothing to lose. The message to the players is to have fun, move the puck, don't be afraid to make a mistake and just let it rip."

They're just enjoying their time on the ice a little bit longer.

Chazy Girls 14U Selects Roster

Bailey Barnett

Briar Beaney

Sophia Browning

Anya Buhrmaster

Emma Clark

Miriam Felton

Bianca Flanagan

Ele Fullum

Rhianna Gilligan

Megan Miller

Maddie Oliver

Morgan Oliver

Reese Peryer

Abby Stalhammar