GLASSBORO, NJ – The blessed discover their passion when life is still young. Some sit at a piano – and they just know. Others may hear their calling from a box of crayons and a clean sheet of paper. Rachel Necky is one of the fortunate. She stepped out onto the ice.
Already a passionate soccer player, Rachel had a burning desire to take up hockey. So, she stepped out onto the ice, filled with enthusiasm, and a good bit of courage as the only girl in a ‘Learn to Play’ clinic.
Rachel was promptly drilled head first into the boards. If that was not sufficient enough, the vicious cross check from behind was followed by a stick off her helmet, supposedly in an attempt to ‘win a loose puck’.
The mere image of that innocent middle school girl being needlessly targeted and so needlessly injured, probably sickens you, but please read on. It is going to take a lot more than that to stop Rachel Necky.
Years of travel soccer experience lay prone on the ice, the body of a budding young athlete remained limp, her dreams of becoming a hockey player drifted into that abyss where the dreams of far too many girls already linger. Everyone in the arena stood in shocked silence; everyone’s heart stopped, everyone froze, everyone, except for Rachel Necky…she got up.
Rachel got up and proclaimed a message for the entire universe of Women’s Hockey, ‘We will no longer be bullied, we will no longer be intimidated, and we will no longer be treated without respect. We are no longer willing to accept less than our fair share. Our time is Now’.
Fourteen-year old Rachel Necky got up…the significance of which will last for the ages. She got up…all that is good about hockey got up with her.
Doctors diagnosed her injury as a concussion, one that would take three months to heal. Rachel went to all of her medical appointments and watched as much hockey as possible on her TV. On the very day of her clearance, Rachel Necky returned to the ice.
Despite that horrible incident, despite a congenital bone problem in her foot, despite all that is bad about hockey, Rachel returned to the ice…only two hours after getting her medical release.
Last night Rachel took her spot behind the Rowan University Women’s Hockey Team where she is the Bench Assistant. Just before the start of the game she told the Coaching Staff that her dream is to one day be the goalie on a college hockey team. Upon saying this, Rachel smiled. Dreams cannot be beaten out of us. They can not be scared away and they can not be crushed with violence. They can only go dormant if we choose to let them.
This time we choose to raise the dream of one young middle school girl high into the air. We choose to gather underneath it, view its pureness, its majesty and admire its courage. Then we choose to root for Rachel’s dream. We choose to support her and the increasing number of female registrants for hockey.
Women’s hockey again knocks on the door. Please know that ‘No” is no longer acceptable. Rachel Necky just said so.