JUNIOR ISLANDERS ANNOUNCE ROSTER
By Jason Lockhart
Tough decisions were made Wednesday as the 2006-07 Junior Islanders Select Team was announced by their head coach and Islanders Director of Grassroots Hockey, Steve Webb. The team will travel to Quebec City in February to participate in the 2007 Quebec International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament.
"We had some very skilled players out there," said Webb. "We had a great turnout and we appreciated all the enthusiasm the kids showed. I look forward to getting some practices in and getting to know the team better before the tournament begins in February."
Among the 20 twelve-year olds selected was defenseman Dana Trivigno the only girl at the tryout -- who plays for the Long Island Royals.
"She has a real knowledge of the game," said Webb. "She plays good position out there and has a great work ethic. She's a heads up player who is good at reading the play. She has a real passion for the game and is always walking around with a smile on her face."
Webb had some assistance when it came to making the final selections. Former Islanders Bob Nystrom, Clark Gillies and Benoit Hogue were in attendance as well as three-time Olympian and Islanders Director of Project Hope, Angela Ruggiero, who remembers what it was like being a girl among boys while playing hockey.
"There weren't too many girls playing hockey when I was little," recalls Ruggiero. "While playing in California in my third year, I was the only girl playing organized hockey in the entire state.
"Every coach at the tryouts thought Dana held her own out there. She's smart and she listens. It'll be great to see her play in one of the most prestigious Pee Wee tournaments. You'll probably be able to count the number of girls going to the tournament on two hands."
So what does Dana think about making it on the Junior Islanders Select Team, where she is the only girl?
"I don't really think of them as boys and girls, just hockey players," admits Dana. "It feels good to make the team. It's a great accomplishment. I look forward to playing in one of the best Pee Wee tournaments in the world and I want to win."
Dana was serious about making the team, participating in two hockey camps over the summer.
"The camps were fun," said Dana, "but the main reason I was there was to prepare for the Junior Islanders tryouts."
Dana lists Alexei Yashin and Tie Domi as her two favorite players and wears No. 28 in honor of Domi because she "likes the way he plays tough."
Dana credits her dad, Bob, for getting her into hockey. He first took her to the rink when she was three and she has loved skating ever since. It's scoring goals, though, that gets her most excited when talking about hockey.
At such a young age, Dana already knows that she wants hockey to play an important part in her future. She hopes to play at college and one day follow in Ruggiero's foot steps and make the Olympic Team.
"It was very encouraging seeing Angela there," said Dana. "She told me you can do whatever you put your mind to whether you're a boy or girl. It was comforting knowing someone else was there who had gone through it before."
Dana, Webb and the entire Junior Islanders team will have four months to prepare for the tournament which begins February 8th. Practices for the team begin on Monday at Iceworks and everyone involved can't wait to get on the ice and get things going.
Check out the entire Select Team roster and more information about the Junior Islanders Program www.juniorislanders.com