From a young age, Sara DeCosta carved out her own hockey path. She played on boys’ teams when she was growing up and did the same at Toll Gate High School, becoming a star goalie in the process. Her career took storybook turns from there, as DeCosta went on to the Providence College women’s hockey team and the United States Olympic team. She won Olympic gold and silver medals.
Obviously, she has no complaints about the path she took.
“I was lucky,” she said. “I had great experiences playing with boys when I was growing up and through high school.”
But DeCosta is also thrilled to see that, these days, the path for girls’ hockey players isn’t quite so narrow. More opportunities are cropping up every year, and in that spirit, DeCosta is joining forces with former Olympic teammate Vicki Movsessian Lamoriello to host an all-girls hockey camp this summer at Providence College.
“We’re really excited,” DeCosta said. “Girls’ hockey has grown so much and there are just so many more opportunities now. To be able to give girls a camp like this is a great thing.”
The camp will run from July 30 to August 3. It’s open to girls ages 6 to 18, and players will be grouped by age and ability. Current and former college players will join DeCosta and Movsessian in providing instruction.
DeCosta and Movsessian had the idea for the camp a while ago. They were teammates on the 1998 Olympic gold medal team, and both settled in Rhode Island after finishing their playing days. DeCosta and husband Mark Hayes live in Warwick with their three children. Movsessian lives in Lincoln.
Busy schedules kept the camp on the back burner the last few years, but DeCosta and Movsessian decided to take the plunge this year – and they can’t wait.
“We’ve both continued in hockey with coaching and being around the sport, and we really wanted to focus on girls’ hockey,” DeCosta said. “We’ve been talking about it for years. It’s exciting.”
DeCosta has stayed active in the sport since the end of her playing career. She coached the goalies for the Harvard women’s hockey team for several years, and has done the same at the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Mass. She also helps out with her children’s teams in the Warwick Junior Hockey Association.
Movsessian has been busy as well. Soon after the 1998 Olympics, she founded the Massachusetts Spitfires Girls/Women’s Hockey Club, one of the strongest programs in New England.
Together, DeCosta and Movsessian are hoping the camp will be a welcome addition to the ever-growing list of opportunities for girls’ hockey players.
The camp will feature three to four hours on the ice each day, plus classroom activities and team building exercises. For older players, there will be a seminar on how to prepare for college interviews and the recruiting process.
While DeCosta and Movsessian have a lot of hockey knowledge to share, they’re also eager to share their stories.
“We want to stress that anything’s possible,” DeCosta said. “We want to tell them about our goals and how we set out to accomplish them.”
DeCosta’s daughter, Kiley, is 7 years old and already playing hockey. So are DeCosta’s 5-year-old twins Cameron and Connor.
Having a daughter involved in the sport has made DeCosta that much more eager to foster opportunities for girls who want to play hockey.
Ultimately, that’s the driving force behind the camp.
“Having a daughter playing has really made me realize how important it is to have those opportunities,” DeCosta said. “My daughter cannot wait for the camp. When I was growing up, there was probably one league I could join for girls, and a lot of girls didn’t start playing hockey at a young age. It was tough for them to develop. Now you see 5-year-old girls playing hockey. It’s so exciting.”
DeCosta and Movsessian just want to do their part.
“I think sports in general are a great thing for girls, and then when you look at the opportunities it can create for scholarships and being part of a team, it’s just great to see the sport growing so much,” DeCosta said.
For more information or to register for the camp, visit www.goldmedalhockey.org.