WESTFIELD, NJ — She scooped the puck from behind the Lady Blue Devils’ goal, hustled it across the ice and scored the game’s winning shot in the contest against Princeton.
Maddie McDevitt is this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the week. The 17-year-old high school senior’s spirits soared as she helped to secure her team’s 3-2 victory over Princeton Jan. 30. McDevitt netted the puck with just 3 minutes left in the game.
“It’s just an awesome feeling,” said McDevitt, who plays right defense. “Rushing it all the way up the ice is always so exhilarating. Getting a game-winning goal made me happy to help my team out.”
McDevitt has been playing ice hockey for nine years. She started with the Westfield Hockey Club and played on boys’ teams until she was around 12 years old. When it became available, she joined girls’ teams.
“I didn’t hate playing on the boys’ teams,” she said. “It was really fun.”
But playing with the boys, McDevitt said, meant she had to get changed apart from the rest of the team and so she missed out on the locker room camaraderie.
“When I switched over to the girls’ team, I was in a locker room with them all, and a lot of bonds are formed there,” she said.
It was natural then that McDevitt joined the girls’ varsity hockey team at Westfield High School when in 2016 it became New Jersey’s eleventh girls-only hockey team.
“My team is awesome, and I’ve made some of my best friends playing with them for the past four years,” McDevitt said.
She has seen the team, including the addition of a junior varsity team, more than double since that inaugural season.
“It’s crazy how far we’ve come. The first year we had 16 girls. Now, we have 37,” McDevitt said.
Availability at the Westfield Rink at Gumbert Park, which itself is in its second season, McDevitt said, has been a boon to the girls’ team, which also practices at Warinanco Park in Roselle and Union Sports Arena in Union Township.
“Since the rink has gone up, we’ve been able to add a JV team. We wouldn’t have been able to otherwise,” she said.
McDevitt has yet to decide where she will attend college next year, but she is sure of one thing: “I intend to play hockey.”
The Lady Blue Devils varsity hockey team next plays Immaculate Heart Academy at Warinanco Park in Roselle on Tuesday, Feb. 11. The puck drops at 4:45 p.m.