Kelli Martino – 2015-2016 Essay

What Gay Hockey Means to Me

By Kelli Martino

What gay hockey means to me: family, friends, and being a part of team greater than the sum of its parts. Madison gay hockey is an integral part of Madison’s identity through my eyes.

As any Madison transplant knows, moving to a new location where you don’t know anyone can be a bit intimidating. With my traditional family a thousand miles away, my closest friends several hours away, and a new cohort of coworkers to meet, I felt very alone on day one. A week after moving, I was in contact with the league and putting down a deposit for the season.

After going to new player orientation and seeing so many people there, my excitement continued to grow. Some of the returning players helped with taping sticks and figuring out the gear situation, which was much appreciated. Finally it was time to hit the ice! I’ve played organized sports pretty much my entire life, but I quickly found MGHA is different. It’s about more than just the sport. This wonderful group of people works so hard to welcome and include everyone. Quickly after moving I had found a family of friends. I was also fortunate enough to snag an awesome mentor who helped to make sure that I not only was figuring out a new life on skates, but getting settled into Madison.

Throughout the season it was rewarding to see other players learn and develop their game. Playing the MGHA way was a solid reminder that it’s not about you. Setting up others to grow and succeed proves that sportsmanship goes a lot farther  Overall, I’m grateful for

Overall, I’m grateful for family that gay hockey has created. Not only is it the best sport on the planet, but also it’s with the best group of people you could ask for. The league was a great first impression of Madison as a whole and has helped make it my home.