West Seneca East goalie Glynn earns starts, and trust
by Matthew Ondesko/Correspondent
Sydney Glynn knows she is making history. She knows people will be watching her on a nightly basis, seeing if she will crack under the pressure of the spotlight she is receiving.
She also knows her teammates have her back.
“They are all my very good friends,” said the West Seneca East goaltender. “They are so supportive of me. They text me after every game telling me what a good job I did. I love every one of them.”
Glynn isn’t the first female goalie to play in the Western New York Varsity Hockey Federation. Others in the past, from Kenmore West and Clarence, have gotten into games — mostly in tournaments.
She is, however, the first female in the league to be a starter. She started her first varsity game against Lewiston-Porter last month and played well enough to earn the win in the Trojans’ 4-3 victory.
Glynn freely admitted after the game that nerves got the best of her and that she will improve as the season goes on. “I was really nervous. They never had a girl on the team,” she said. “I was the starter and there was a lot of pressure on me to do well. Lots of jitters.”
The decision to play for the boys’ team was a curious one, only because the West Seneca School District does have a girls’ varsity team as well. Glynn, though, wanted a chance to prove herself on a higher level. She wanted to test herself against the harder shots and the quicker pace of the boys’ game.
“Better competition. Faster game. Harder shots,” stated Glynn, asked the reasons she went out for the boys’ varsity.
When she approached West Seneca East coach Daniel Goldie about coming out for the team, the coach didn’t have a problem with it, and neither did her teammates. “I was a little surprised she was (going out for the team),” said Goldie. “She went through all the New York State Athletic Association rules and classification test that she had to take, and everyone was OK with it. I was fine with it. I have no hesitation with girl goalies.”
Goldie always has been a coach who lets kids try out and, if they are good enough to make the squad, then so be it. He knew his team would have some media around it because of the fact Glynn is a female and the school and her are making history, of sorts.
But to him, the best players play. And she happens to be one of the best players at this time. “I told Sydney, ‘Listen, that first game is up for grabs right now. Whoever is making the saves during warm-ups and during practice will start,’ ” said Goldie. “We thought Sydney would give us the best shot to win.”
Glynn is thankful for the opportunity, but she also knows she has to work at her craft if she wants to continue to see playing time. That means working hard during practice to cut down angles better and doing a better job of controlling her rebounds. It also means being more aggressive in general.
While nerves did play a big part in her first start, Glynn knows that if she isn’t aggressive, teams will take advantage of it and crash the net more often. “I need to be more aggressive,” she said. “I need to get stronger, because I am smaller than most of the boys and a lot weaker than them. So, I need to get stronger.”
She also knows there is a mental part to this game, which at times could work to her advantage. Sometimes, when a female suits up to play goal, the boys have a tendency to think it could be an easier game. They take it for granted they will score with ease.
Glynn said that kind of mentality could work in her favor, at least in the early going. “It kind of makes me feel good, because they are already kind of underestimating me,” she said. “I just have to go out and prove them wrong, which is what I plan on doing this year.”
As for the pressure of performing when they lights are on, she knows it’s there. She also knows that, years down the road, this might not be a big deal. Glynn figures that if she plays well, this could be a statement that women can play the sport just as good as the men can. “It’s huge honor. They obviously have a lot of faith in me,” she said. “I hope people start to realize that girls are just as good as boys when it comes to hockey.”
Only a junior, Glynn still has college options and hopes a good year will open the door for her. “That’s what I am hoping for,” she said. “It’s a huge honor to be on this team. And I am hoping to get a scholarship and go off to college and play. It’s my dream.”
Sydney Glynn is being looked at as a pioneer in the sport of hockey because she is playing on a boys’ team. In reality, Glynn is just doing what every young man or woman wants to do — play the sport they love. She is no different that anybody who is playing in the WNY Varsity Hockey Federation this season.
She is just one of the guys.
This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of New York Hockey Journal.