by Shayne Lynn 93
One of the coldest winters in Vermont history is not without its rewards,
such as a smooth sheet of Lake Champlain ice, 50 yards wide and easily
a half-mile long, tucked inside Burlington harbors stone breakwater.
Dennis Miller 89, head coach of the Catamount womens hockey
team, remembers skating ice like this during his varsity days with
the mens program, when Coach Gilligan would bring the team down
for some outdoor fun. On an early February afternoon, Miller did the
same for his squad.
Its a hike out to the black ice, and with a stiff wind and gray
skies, a few of the players dont look so sure about the fun
part. For those new to big-lake skating, an ominous rumble from the
depths underfoot doesnt help.
But soon skates and green leather hockey gloves are on and all is
forgotten but the game and the friends it is played with. Gray sweatshirts
versus black sweatshirts, a pair of shoes marking each goal. Its
clear that the camaraderie on this team is strong lots of smiles,
lots of jokes, lots of elaborate celebration of goals, and a mock
hockey fight for good measure.
As the light fades, photographer Shayne Lynn has the players put their
game jerseys on for a few team shots. As they pose, Coach Miller quietly
skates out to the breakwater, plants a hockey stick in the snow and
leaves a puck beside it. When he returns, someone says, It looks
like youre staking claim on behalf of UVM hockey. An understated
kind of guy, Miller shrugs, Somebody will be skating out here
in the next few days who could use it. Seeds of inspiration,
maybe, on this arctic landscape. Thomas Weaver