All in the family: Six sisters hit ice for Woodbury this winterIn a sport known for creating tight bonds, three groups of sisters hit the ice for the Woodbury girls hockey team this winter – making this season a true family affair.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
Talk about keeping it in the family.
In a sport known for creating tight bonds, three groups of sisters hit the ice for the Woodbury girls hockey team this winter – making this season a true family affair.
Ashley and Jessica Krinke, Mandy and Mickey McAlpine, and Grace and Livia Twohig all donned the blue and white for the Royals this season.
The majority of Woodbury head coach Shantel Rivard’s family played hockey, so she knows what it’s like to lace up the skates with siblings and moms and dads.
“I think it’s awesome when you can play hockey with your family,” she said. “My brother and my dad and my dad’s brothers and his dad all played hockey. It’s such a family thing. Those memories are amazing to have. To see them be able to play together and have fun together was fantastic.”
While the sisters each played different roles on the Woodbury girls hockey team, Rivard said all of them made an impact on the program.
“We had a number of different dynamics,” Rivard said. “You had an older sister trying to make her younger sister better, a younger sister trying to help an older sister be better and the Krinke’s who each were good players and were just trying to make it work. I think it was probably really rewarding for all their parents, too, just to be able to see all their daughters playing together.”
Jessica Krinke, a senior forward, was a team captain and leader on and off the ice for Woodbury this season. Her sister Ashley, a freshman, played forward and defense for the Royals varsity squad.
For the Krinke sisters this past season was the second straight year they played together.
“It’s taken our relationship as sisters to a different level,” Jessica Krinke said. “It’s definitely brought us closer.”
Ashley said she’s learned a lot from Jessica.
“Because she’s a captain, I have to make sure to remember that when she’s giving me advice it comes from a captain’s perspective, not from a sister’s perspective,” she said.
Mandy McAlpine, a sophomore forward, finished third on the team in scoring this year with eight points on five goals and three assists. Her sister Mickey, an eighth grader, played junior varsity and varsity for the Royals as well.
The McAlpines grew up in a hockey-oriented family and have each skated since they were roughly 4-years old. However, this past season was the first time they were members of the same team.
“It was a lot of fun,” Mandy McAlpine said. “We’ve always been really good friends. It was a fun year.”
Rivard said she tried to pair Mickey and Mandy on the same line together as much as possible.
“You could tell they really loved to play together,” Rivard said.
Livia Twohig, an eighth grade forward, was fourth on the Royals in scoring with seven points on three goals and four assists. Grace Twohig, a junior, tried hockey for the first time this year and, as a first-year player, took the ice for the varsity and junior varsity teams.
The Twohigs probably shared the ice the least amount of time together, but that didn’t take anything away from the experience, Livia said.
“We didn’t play together a lot because we were on separate teams, but just going to practice together let us spend more time together than usual,” she said. “We needed players, so (Grace) signed up. She said it always looked fun when she watched me play. It was a lot of fun watching her get better and better. At first she was really bad, but she got a lot better.”
Livia said, in addition to practice, she and Grace would go to open skating together as well. Jessica Krinke said Grace Twohig was probably the most-improved player in the program this year.
“It was fun to see Livia and Grace get out there together and the younger sister trying to set-up the older sister and see her try to make her a better player,” Rivard said.
With three pairs of sisters on the same bench during games, it wasn’t always lovey-dovey, however.
One time in particular stuck out to Rivard when two of the girls went at it on the bench “like sisters would.”
“We figured out they couldn’t be on the same line,” Rivard joked. “It was probably normal for them, though and it was just a one-time thing. For the most part it was really fun.”
Jessica Krinke said she and Ashley probably fought the most out of the sisters.
“We tried to keep it under control, but there were times we’d get into it,” she said.
This season, Woodbury was young and thin on players with varsity experience. The Royals were also hit with a number of injuries to key players and struggled to a 3-22-1 overall record, finishing last in the Suburban East Conference with a 2-16 mark. However, the sisters said the team stayed positive and had a fun year overall.
“We definitely learned a lot more about each other,” Mickey McAlpine said.
Jessica Krinke, who has played for Woodbury for the past five years, said it’s been “the greatest experience” playing high school hockey.
“It’s probably shaped me more than anything else in high school,” Jessica Krinke said. “I’m going to miss it that’s for sure.”