History of Girls Varsity Hockey

Remembering Dr. James Rusin
Dr James Rusin

Amherst Bee Article for Dr. James Rusin

Dr James Rusin Memorial Award Winners

Girl's 4 Varsity Ice Hockey, started out as a group of dedicated parents, supporters and administrators committed to seeing that school sponsored High School Ice Hockey became a reality in WNY. We wanted to make sure our girls' continued to have opportunities to participate in scholastic sports are on a par with existing boy's programs.

The parents, students and administrators of all the School Districts have shown a tremendous amount of support approving the formation of an official varsity high school hockey program in WNY. We especially wish to acknowledge the late Dr James Rusin, Director of Athletics of the Williamsville School District for spearheading the effort on the part of the school districts. Dr Rusin, along with Williamsville Physical Education Teacher Rick Hopkins, organized a grass-roots effort of parent volunteers to get the process started. Parents in each district went to their school board meetings and spoke with administrators. A comprehensive census of how many girls playing hockey in WNY was obtained. It took several years and in the process many girls were unable to participate as they had graduated before the sport became a reality. There were many, many bumps in the road and several strategy meetings took place over the course of 3 years. In January of 2008 a game was played between 2 Williamsville teams, North and a combined team made up of girls from South and East. In early 2009 Williamsville and Monsignor Martin announced that they would field teams but needed many more for it to become reality. Demonstration Skates were held at Holiday Twin Rinks and at The Amherst Northtown Center with tremendous success. Kenmore announced its support as the 3rd school to commit in October and the other schools followed after. In January of 2010 two showcase games were played between Williamsville and Schools from the Rochester area with funding from the North Forest Civic Association on behalf of Mike Deakin and Dr Rusin. Then 5 other showcase games were played to show everyone that in fact girls hockey was competitive. It wasn't until Orchard Park committed in June of 2010 with fundraising through boosters, becoming the necessary 5th team to form a league. Lancaster and West Senca followed soon after to make it a 7 team league. Varsity hockey was finally a reality for the inagural 2010-11 season!

Coach Rick Hopkins Dr James Rusin
Rick Hopkins and the late Dr James Rusin, The Chairman of the WNYGVIHF

The Parents Group
Some of The Parents Group

 

 

The Faceoff

1st Puck Drop
Dr Rusin Dropping The Puck For The Inaugural Girls Game!