Freshman Gracie Rice Plays For the Traveling Lady Blues Hockey Team


By Hannah Wilson

As she laces up her skates, freshman Gracie Rice mentally prepares for the tryout ahead. After meeting the members of the U16 Triple-A Lady Blues Hockey team at a tournament, Rice knew that she wanted to develop her skills and face tough competition. Playing through her nerves, Rice skated her way into a place on the team as a defenseman.

The only problem: they wanted her to be an in-town player. That means that she would have to move from Las Vegas, Nevada to Saint Charles, Missouri in order to play on her ideal team.

“I was really excited when I made the team, but I was so sad because I had to leave my home,” Rice said. “But, I had wanted it for so long and last season I was still playing Double-A hockey and this is Triple-A hockey. I wanted to make the jump, and I wanted to be on the Blues. They were my number one pick and they were so high ranked, the team is one of the best. So, I said that I wanted to follow through with this, and my parents said that they wanted to do it with me.”

After making the decision, Rice and her family moved to Saint Charles, where she is now able to practice, play and travel with the team. They practice three days a week, with the potential of more practices on the weekends if there isn’t a tournament. Rice goes to the gym to workout every day of the week; she runs, lifts weights and skates. The Lady Blues practice in order to prepare for the tough competition they will face in the U.S. and Canada.

“[Going to Canada] is awesome, I love it,” Rice said. “It is so stressful, but it is so much fun, especially at the airport with my passport. This season was the first season I ever went to Canada, but it is a lot of fun. There’s huge Canadian flags everywhere, and it’s very obvious that the Canadians point us out as Americans. The Canadian hockey teams are big and aggressive.”

Even though she is playing the sport that she loves and is able to travel to places she has never been before, Rice has had to find ways to manage her time, school work and social life. Due to her busy schedule, she has to find time to be a normal teenager.

“Balancing everything is hard,” Rice said. “I try to stay on top of all my school work and I talk to my teachers all the time about getting my work ahead of time because I miss so many days. I normally just do my homework during my study hall. After school, I’ll knock out as much as I can before I go to the gym or to practice.”

Even as a freshman, Rice is looking forward to the future. Her goal is to earn a scholarship for a Division 1 college hockey team. One college that she has in mind would be Ohio State because members of her family went there. Because she has been preparing, she feels as though that is in reach. Her mother, Sandy Rice, also agrees that Rice is a very hard worker and a good hockey player.

“Due to her busy schedule, school and hockey is about all that she can fit in her life right now,” Sandy said. “I think that the passion she has for it and the drive to make herself better makes her good at hockey.”