Center Ice Spotlight: Sage Rebello | South Brunswick, New Jersey
Picking up my brother from a second grade skating birthday party is where it all began. My brother had never skated before, yet he was a natural on the ice. I myself had never seen an ice rink before, and it looked very exciting. At the end of the party, my brother came with his rental skates. He looked at my mom and begged her if he could play ice hockey. My mom sat staring at the ice and said, “only if your sister plays too”. My brother and I are a year apart- Irish Twins, my mom refers to us. .
That very evening we signed up for the intro to hockey program at Proskate. I was in third grade and after a few classes, I literally began to get cold feet. I finished the season with a lot of complaining- my feet were always frozen. I tried all sorts of foot- warmers, and thermal socks, but to no avail. I just hated the stinging cold and I finally quit after completing the 1st session. My brother continued, as I watched him from the bleachers skate like the wind. They nicknamed him “Rocket Rebello”.
As I grew older, I regretted that I quit hockey. I have never been a quitter, so it always bothered me that I did not push myself beyond the discomfort of the cold ice. Towards the end of 8 th grade at 13 years old, I decided to take another stab at hockey. I had matured, and realized that I would have to push harder due to the steep learning curve. I registered into the intro 2 hockey class. I was surrounded by little kids. I felt like Goliath. I was embarrassed at first, but knew that I had to go through these fundamental classes if I had to play ice hockey. At the end of the few weeks, I joined the in-house Bantam team at Proskate. I had never played on a team before. I was the only girl on the team. I was barely able to balance. I stumbled, fell, took a few shots, but never ever once had “cold feet”. It was always the fire within me that helped me surge forward and improve with every skate
The 3 month in-house season came to an end. I was confronted with 2 options. Join the In-house Midget team or play travel hockey on a girls team. The spring of 9th grade, I joined a speed skating camp and went for open stick times, all with the goal to join a travel team. Tryouts were fast approaching.
In 2017, Tryouts were announced. I was hoping to make the U 14 AA Princeton Tiger Lilies girls team. I fell short and was selected to the Nassau U14 A travel team. It was a different experience from playing in-house hockey. Playing in tournaments and weekly matches improved my hockey sense and game play. It was fun. I developed as a hockey player and soon honed the competitive trait of the sport. This was my first year of hockey. When the season ended my main goal was to get into Princeton Tiger Lilies U16 AA team.
The months in advance before tryouts, my dad scheduled private classes for me. It was hard finding a class after school between piano and other activities. The only option was to do classes before school. I went for private classes at 5:30 am everyday. These classes benefited me a lot and gave me skill training, stamina, and hockey sense. I tried my hardest at Tryouts, not giving up. I pushed myself to be at the front of the line for every activity. I played my heart out. I was determined to make it to the U16AA team. My hard work paid off when I saw my name on the Princeton Tiger Lilies- U16 AA roster for 2018-2019.
It was a very successful season. I learned different strategies. This team was very fast and skilled. I had to ramp up to fit in. My dad installed a huge battle rope on a tree. I had to climb that 10 times, in intervals of 30 seconds. We created a routine to improve my stamina before every practice and game. We called it “plyo”. For plyo, I would go on the treadmill for a long interval time increasing the speed after one minute. Next, I jumped on different heights of plyometric boxes. Once finished with that, I would jump rope for 100 skips and last I would hang on the pull up bar for 1 minute. My dad would give me a 5 minute break and then repeat the routine over 10 times. With all the routines I improved my stamina and soon, I was recognized for my quick feet.
The U16AA season was coming to an end and my goal for 2019-2020 was to make the U19AA team. I wanted to challenge myself and push myself to be a stronger and skilled hockey player. I began to focus on areas I had to improve on. After tryouts, my name was on the roster for my dream team. I am excited and happy that I gave ice hockey another shot. No more skating on thin ice or with cold feet.
I am a fierce competitor and I am looking forward to playing ice hockey in a college team.
I would like to inspire and mentor other players of color, who feel intimidated to play Ice Hockey for looking different. As a HPOC ambassador, I would like to use my talents and serve as a positive influence to other girls who are afraid to participate in the sport.
I am an artist and a pianist. I have used my artwork as fundraisers to help underserved schools in my neighborhood.
I would like to sit down with Manon Rhéaume. She is the first woman to play in the NHL. She really inspires and reminds one that if you work hard, you can achieve your dreams.
The best advice i've been given is there is no obstacle bigger than yourself.
My hockey dream is I would love to play ice hockey in college.