BURRILLVILLE – Rhonda Hanaway thought that after watching their spouses and children play hockey for years, ladies in Burrillville might enjoy the opportunity to get on the ice themselves.
It turns out she was right.
A mother of two boys, Hanaway played on an older women’s hockey league in New Hampshire for years before moving to Burrillville five years ago.
“It’s been my dream for a while now to start the league,” she said.
“I couldn’t really find a women’s C/D league around here,” she said, noting that she played with some women at Providence College the first year after moving, but that the league fell apart. “I didn’t want to drive an hour so late at night when I had to get up for work the next day either.”
Hanaway talked to Chris Lacey, director of Burrillville’s Levy Rink, and put out a call on social media to both older women who used to play the game, and women who had never played, but who could skate.
“From there, it took off,” she said. ” I couldn’t believe it.”
Some 30 local women responded, and starting next week, they’ll meet at the rink every Tuesday for drills and scrimmages.
“It’s a ‘women’s empowering league,'” said Hanaway. “We are all there to support each other – no judgment.”
Hanaway and her husband opened Johnny’s Victory Diner last year, and now, he’ll likely be among those helping out as the ladies take the ice.
“We have some helpers, but we are just going with the flow,” said Hanaway. “We are kind of winging it until we see where we are at, experience wise.”
Hanaway charged a $260 tuition for full time players; $130 for part time, to cover expenses, including jerseys with a number on them. She collected the names and sizes, designed a logo, and ordered the jerseys from Greenville Graphics.
The Burrillville Women’s Hockey League will have their first night of hockey on Tuesday, Sept. 10, and will meet weekly from 9 to 9:50 p.m., through March 24.
“I want to give each player time to skate and try to scrimmage,” she said.
“It’s the first year, honestly, so we will see how it goes,” she said. “I’m sure it will grow.”
”We are just playing it by ear,” she said.