Friday, October 30, 2009

Feature on Dani Furlong

This is my feature that was published in The Metropolitan:

When one envisions hockey many stereotypes come to mind of Canadian boys beating on each other over frozen water. However, when one meets Metro hockey's one female on-ice representative, forward Dani Furlong, many stereotypes are broken. Coming from Tampa Bay, Florida where her father worked for the Lightning of the NHL Dani grew up playing hockey with her two brothers starting at age five. Her last experience with coed hockey was when she was 14. From then on Furlong has played exclusively on women's teams. 

"(Men's hockey) is a little faster and more physical," Furlong said.

Though standing at 5'3'' Furlong is not afraid of the physical play to the surprise of some of her teammates. She plays primarily forechecker on the checking line.

Furlong plans applying her experience with Metro to play division one women's hockey at Northwestern University. She was originally recruited for Northeastern* out of high school. In high school her hockey resume includes playing for a boarding school in Massachusetts and winning a national championship in 2003. After deciding nursing school wasn't for her she moved out to Colorado to pursue a career in sports journalism. She is currently works with the Met report. 

"I did not know one person out here," Furlong said.

However, quickly made friends with her teammates and is treated as one of the guys.

"She's the best girl on the team!" Forward Dan Golden joke during an interview.

At first she said some of the guys were a bit more careful around when playing with her but that quickly went away by the second day of tryouts. During games the players on the other team don't really treat her much differently.

Though a female hockey player from Florida might be a surprise, the most impressive thing about Furlong is her style of play and not her biography. She is widely considered to be one of the smartest hockey players on the team. 

"We have a had five girls tryout out for the team before but in those cases it was clear that none of them would be able to make it," said head coach Ryan Callahan. "She's smart and plays the game very well."

Though the team was originally mum on whether or not Furlong would making the final roster assistant coach Curtis Duffus knew she would make the final roster.

"I am personally very impressed and surprised," said Duffus. "She handily made the team."

After making the final roster Furlong has not been a disappointment. The checking forward has two assists and three games.

*Made a mistake on the published version that Furlong politely corrected for me. The incorrect version says Northwestern.

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