Wyatt Carlston – 2019-2020 Essay

I joined the MGHA in 2017 and started my 3rd season this year. At the tail end of 2016 I moved to Madison from Boston and had felt as though I had lost a great sense of community and friendship moving here. I was struggling to find a sense of belonging and was actively searching to move elsewhere when I happened to take a day and go ice skating at the UW Shell ice rink. It was there that I had a skater approach me and ask if I played hockey, and if I had heard of the MGHA. Little did I know this was the start of finding everything I had been looking for.

I have wanted to play hockey for many years and always struggled to find a beginner friendly league. The MGHA was not only a developmental players league, but also a LGBTQ environment that supported its players to both learn hockey and have a safe space to be oneself. I quickly gained some of the best friends one could ever ask for and share in learning a sport I have longed to be a part of. As soon as I touched the ice I was surrounded by the most welcoming group of people who all supported one another and cheered for each person’s growth and successes. Over the years I have played many team sports, but playing with the MGHA was the first time on a team that I felt so accepted and a part of something bigger. I have since become a captain and a mentor within the league and love the opportunity to support others starting their hockey journey and seeing them find themselves, as I was able to. This league opened the door to so many of the best parts of my life that I cannot begin to express how grateful I am.