hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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March 21, 2013

A league of their own

Women shift gears from family life to floor hockey

In many ways, Michelle Bushey is a typical housewife and mother.

She gets her twin daughters off to school in the morning, takes them to gymnastics practice twice a week and also works part time as a medical assistant.

But on recent Sunday afternoons, she’s taken on a different persona.

Bushey puts on sneakers, protective gloves, shin guards and a mouth guard, picks up a 4-foot-long stick that her husband gave her, and races up and down the YMCA gym trying to stop other players from scoring a goal. Long the spectator at her daughters’ extra-curricular activities, Bushey is now the one to watch.

She is one 60 women in the YMCA’s first women’s floor hockey league. They range in age from their 30s to their 50s and play on teams with names like “Jen’s Jezebels” and “What were we Thinking.”

”I never played an organized team sport before,” said Bushy, 37 of Haverhill. “It’s very addicting and fun.”

Six teams of 10 players each have been meeting on Sunday afternoons for hour-long games. The six-week regular season concludes March 24, followed by two weekends of playoff games.

”Most of the women on our team haven’t played this before,” said Bushey. “Until now, I don’t think people would call me athletic, but I’ve always been active.”

Bushey said she never gave any thought to playing floor hockey until YMCA sports director Clint Clay mentioned he was starting a new women’s league. She said it sounded like a great way to get in shape and have some fun.

”I looked at my husband and said, ‘Do you think I can do it?’” Bushey said.

Her husband gave her one of his hockey sticks and, with the addition of a few more pieces of equipment, she was ready to play.

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