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Amy Lowe Treated Every Kid Like Her Own, Earning Her the Wm. Thayer Tutt Award

By Nicole Haase, 06/05/24, 9:00AM MDT


Lowe established the Nashoba Youth Hockey Association’s first girls team in 2005.

When Amy Lowe was growing up, she had the privilege of something that has only recently become commonplace in hockey — she played on all-girls teams, even from a young age as her mother helped start the girls program in their hometown of Stoneham, Massachusetts, giving both Lowe and her older sister a team to play for.  

The support and camaraderie she experienced as a child helped fuel a massive commitment to making hockey accessible to players of all ages and abilities — but particularly for young girls. 

While youth hockey continues to get more competitive, Lowe has remained committed to teaching and fostering the game with children no matter their level of interest or skill as the director of girls hockey and director of initiations at the Nashoba Youth Hockey Association (NYHA), which serves the communities of Westford, Littleton and Tyngsborough, Mass.

Her goal from the beginning was hockey at a grassroots level that’s focused in and around Stoneham. She helped establish the association’s first girlshockey program in 2005 and dedicated her time to growing the girls game while ensuring the rink is a welcoming place for all who come to play. 

Lowe was an indefatigable volunteer with NYHA as a parent, coach, and board member, leaving a legacy of making space for girls in hockey. The association renamed their girls hockey scholarship in Lowe’s honor, saying it “celebrates Amy Lowe’s unwavering commitment to fostering a positive girl’s hockey environment. NYHA invites candidates to reflect on and articulate the positive impact that being part of girls hockey has made in their lives.”

For an unwavering commitment to making hockey enjoyable, safe and accessible, Lowe has been named the 2024 winner of the Wm. Thayer Tutt Award, which is presented annually by USA Hockey to a volunteer who, during many years of service, has displayed a selfless dedication to the enhancement of ice hockey at the grassroots level in America.

The award is the top volunteer honor awarded by USA Hockey each season. 

It is named in honor of the late Wm. Thayer Tutt, who served as president of USA Hockey from 1972 to 1986.

Brant Berglund, NYHA director of player development and a volunteer, was personally recruited by Lowe. Berglund called her a remarkable woman and said he and other volunteers at NYHA are consistently trying to live up to the standard and legacy Lowe set. 

“We all learned from Amy and the way she carried herself,” Berglund said.“As competitive as she could be as a coach, it was never about winning. It was about the players, and it was about how the hockey program really tries to make our daily lives about creating good people, good athletes and good hockey players, in that order. There was always the desire to win, but never at the cost of doing what was right for the kids on both teams. It was always about making sure that every kid had a place where they felt comfortable to grow as a person and as an athlete and as a hockey player.”

Berglund was just a dad with kids learning to skate when Lowe spotted him and recognized he had a hockey background. Now he’s on the board of directors and using the things he learned from working with Lowe to help drive the NYHA forward. 

He said the association wants to be a place where kids can fall in love with the game, whether they are late to start playing or looking for an alternative to programs that are incredibly competitive, far away or too expensive. 

“We have some very good teams, but the thing we’re most proud of is the cohesion they have with each other, the environment they have to learn the sport more,” he said. “Coaches really are the creators and nurturers of environments. The best coaches create the best environments for players to develop in.”

Lowe, who has lived in Westford, Mass., for 25 years, herself described her approach to building hockey with NYHA this way back in 2018

“My philosophy is simple. I’m not going to base my success or failure on wins and losses. My success or failure is going to be determined by how many of these kids sign up for hockey next year.” she said.

Lowe’s biggest legacy can be found in the number of current and former NYHA players that have gone on to become coaches, said Berglund, including Lowe’s own children. Each of them carries the compassion, commitment and care with which Lowe taught them to love the game and pass it on to new skaters so her legacy carries on through generations. 

“Every Saturday morning and every Sunday afternoon she’d be at the rink by herself to set things up,” Berglund said. “She got so much out of seeing each kid take their first strides or pass their first puck or score their first goal. That’s what youth coaching is all about. Every moment can be a championship if you understand your kids and understand what is progress for them in personal and athletic ways.”

He remembers a story that he feels perfectly encapsulates how intrinsic Lowe is to the NYHA. 

In his first year as a coach, Berglund coached a 10U girls team with a roster of kids from ages 6-9. Many of the players were just a year removed from participating in Learn to Play and Learn to Skate programs. The team made the playoffs but lost their final game by a single goal late in the game. He admits to struggling to find the right words to comfort them after the difficult loss and feeling emotional after looking into the small faces that had been excited throughout the game but were now upset. 

Berglund tried his best to comfort and support the team. As he walked out of their locker room welling up with tears as he let their emotions become his own, he ran into Lowe. She was the one that taught him to comfort and support his players and now she was there to comfort him and the team. They weren’t her kids, and she wasn’t their coach, but she’d helped get them started in the game and watched to support them. 

“She had a deep connection with every kid and every coach,” Berglund said.“She has a great demeanor to her and a connection with each kid that way. The connection I have with my players I’ve built from watching Amy and the way she carries herself. It’s all out of gratitude for her. It’s Amy’s legacy through the players she helped learn to love the game. That’s the stamp she put on her program and on our athletes and it’s just beautiful.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc

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