The San Jose Lady Sharks prepare the whole year to get ready for the USA Hockey Senior Women’s B National Championships every April.
But they don’t play in a league. Instead, they take on some of the top prep teams in the state, including the Jr. Sharks 16U and 19U squads. And the competition can be fierce – the 19Us captured the Tier II national title in 2017.
The Lady Sharks also make sure they play in the MLK Women’s Ice Hockey Tournament every year.
In order to get even more ice time, Lady Sharks assistant captain Linda Desruisseaux and teammate Katherine Iverson head up a team that travels to northern Wisconsin to play in the Labatt Blue/USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships. The two players are the only members of the Lady Sharks who play for the SF Yaks for pond hockey.
The Yaks have played in the tournament the last two years, getting into the four-team Women’s Gold Division.
“[We] just [attend] to have fun and play some more hockey,” Iverson said. “All the girls I play with love skating, so whenever we can get out there is good. We want to win one game. We haven’t yet, but that’s our goal for next year.”
Back in San Jose, the Lady Sharks consist of a talented group of players. Five of them competed at the NCAA Division I level — including Desruisseaux, who played at Northeastern — and three or four others played Division III hockey.
The team is made up of players who are between the ages of 22 and 51. However, the majority are 24-31 years old.
“There’s a fair handful that learned to play as an adult and a fair amount of us who played in college,” said the 34-year-old Desruisseaux, who is the second-oldest player on the squad. “It’s an interesting range of people.”
After growing up in Minnesota and playing hockey on the pond, Iverson moved to Michigan. She made her way out to California and wanted to make sure she had a hockey team to play for. She was surprised by the talent of players on the West Coast and at the same time, excited by the prospect of having even more highly skilled teams pop up in California in the future as the women’s game continues to be cultivated in the region.
“Everyone’s really good,” said Iverson, 31. “There’s a lot of people that grew up in California and have been playing their whole life. It’s cool to see that.”
The ladies have a fun time playing on the Lady Sharks with their hockey-loving teammates.
“They’re so much fun, and they all just love the game so much,” Iverson said. “Being out there, it’s like being a kid again; it’s super fun.”
Said Desruisseaux: “We have really good camaraderie. We have a great team, a great group of girls. If we win or lose, we have a really great attitude. We just love to play hockey and we love to have a good time. We have a great friendship and that friendship is really what gives us great success on the ice.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.