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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 24, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Sports

Taking a Shot

Freshman Julie Winograd — petite with long brown hair, wearing mascara and talking about her favorite film director — has another side to her. She also throws punches to protect her goalie.
Winograd is a hockey player — the only female on the roster for Ithaca College’s club roller hockey team.
Winograd has spent nearly her entire life playing hockey. From age 5, she took to the rink, developing a skill set that has helped her compete at a higher level.
“I started because my brother played hockey, and I wanted to do everything he did,” she said. “Also, my favorite movie was ‘D2: The Mighty Ducks,’ and in that movie there’s a girl named Julie who plays hockey, so of course I figured I had to.”
Winograd, a cinema and photography major, said she is a fan of the color purple, wearing makeup and chick flicks, such as “Moulin Rouge!” She said she is able to find a balance between sports and her other hobbies.
“I don’t care about the stigmas,” she said. “I’m going to follow whatever passions I have, whether that’s in film or hockey or anything else.”
Originally, Winograd didn’t plan on trying out for the hockey team at the college, but after attending a club informational meeting, she said she couldn’t pass up the chance to play.
“I didn’t even have my hockey gear at the beginning of the year,” Winograd said. “I had to have it all shipped out here. I was sad thinking about spending this year not playing. I don’t know if I could have done it.”
Because there is currently no female hockey team at the college, Winograd’s only option was to try out for the all-male club roller hockey team, which is in its first official season. Junior captain Brian Wojcik said having a girl on the team was no different than playing with only guys; she is just another teammate.
“I was a little surprised to have a girl try out,” he said. “But she isn’t treated differently because of her sex. Once she started working with the team, people saw what she brought and acted like she was just another player.”
She plays defense, but switched to offense for the team’s tournament Saturday in Pottstown, Pa., because she is good at making breakout passes, she said.
Wojcik credits Winograd as one the smartest players on the team when it comes to positioning and knowledge of the game.
“She has played in very competitive leagues and knows what it takes to be a winner,” he said. “She has a positive attitude and works hard every practice.”
Winograd’s history of success certainly has helped her develop into a great player. Her female club roller hockey team won the national championships and qualified for Team USA, placing second in the world cup in 2005.
Though she has developed a comfort level with the players here, Winograd said she has dealt with people judging her in the past.
“I’ve heard a lot of really sexist comments over the years,” she said. “But the guys here are really accepting because all that matters to them is that I can play.”
The team only plays other all-male teams in the region. And while Winograd does admit that playing with and against male college students is tougher, because most are physically stronger and faster than she is, she said she has been able to adjust and learn from the experience.
“I have to focus more on my positioning,” she said. “I can’t rely on my speed or stick handling anymore. I’m focused almost solely on defense.”
Junior assistant captain Bill Kelleher said Winograd’s small 5-foot-3-inch frame has to work harder to keep up with the taller males.
“It is hard for someone her height to match up with guys who are 6 feet and taller for the most part,” Kelleher said.
One of the only other difficulties so far for Winograd has been in the locker room. Because the team travels to different locations for games, she is not always guaranteed her own locker room to change in.
“Usually I’ll end up changing in the women’s bathroom,” she said.
Wojcik said now everyone tries to be conscious of when Winograd is in the room and will ask her to leave if they need to change.
Junior Chris Barriere, one of the team’s assistant captains, said Winograd has earned the respect of her fellow teammates because she is able to handle herself with maturity.
“Julie is really good-humored about everything,” he said. “She doesn’t make a big deal out of it, so neither do we.”
No matter the challenges, Winograd said she is positive she will continue playing hockey.
“Hockey is my release,” she said. “I love the game. I’m able to forget everything else that’s going on.”
Barriere said he and his fellow teammates are excited to have her playing with them this year.
“She was better than half of the guys who tried out,” Barriere said. “She’s a hard worker, and everyone gets along with her. She does what we would want every player to do: go out and try to win.”
As the sole female player on the college team, Winograd said she is thankful she was able to continue playing the sport she loves, even if it means adjusting to an all-male team.
“I was shocked that it didn’t matter that I was a girl,” she said. “It was never an issue. Hockey will always be a male-dominated sport, but I’ve found that everyone here just thinks it’s really cool that I play.”