With ten years of hockey experience, Lilly Feeney ’20, a two-year Lower from Foxboro, Massachusetts, has been a vital asset in continuing the Andover Girls Hockey team’s successful season with her consistent, high-level play style. According to teammate Linda Bibeau ’20, Feeney is an exemplary hockey player and a role model on the team, both with her skills and determination.
Bibeau said, “Lilly’s success on the ice is not only a testament to her athleticism and skill as a player, but rather is a combination of her skill and dedication both on and off the ice. Lilly constantly gives it her all in every drill in practice and every shift in games. She works as hard as she can while she is on the ice, and her resilience and perseverance is a huge asset to the team.”
Feeney’s hard work, dedication, and positivity on the ice have earned her The Phillipian’s Athlete of the Week.
How did you get involved in ice hockey?
My dad played hockey, and my older brothers were influenced by him to start the sport. Ever since I was born, my two older brothers [had] been playing competitively, and I looked up to them. When I was old enough, I begged my dad to skate. He let me skate around on the outside rink, and [I] fell in love with it. I started skating lessons and started the sport of ice hockey after feeling comfortable [in] my skating shoes. When I was four, I was playing three-versus-three cross ice, and between age five and six, I was on an all-boys travel team.
What is your pregame ritual?
After having a healthy meal as a team, I usually get to the rink early to re-tape my stick. The team does a dynamic warmup then breaks off to practice our different positions in the rink. A few girls on the team and I put our legs up against a wall to get blood in our legs flowing, so my legs can burst in the field. The captains play hype, upbeat music to mentally prepare us for the big game. I’m not very superstitious, so I don’t have any weird routines like specific songs, but instead [I] get hyped along with my teammates.
What motivates you to work hard?
I am motivated by my teammates’ hardworking and passionate attitudes [towards] the sport as well as constant determination to try my best and contribute to the team’s victory. Experiencing the happiness of winning constantly motivates me to perform at [my] best. In addition, I am extremely competitive, so I try to work my hardest to lead a win every game. My competitiveness is also apparent in everyday practices, as we play mini-games within the team. These mini-games are not different from regular matches in the fact that I try to perform at my best potential and try my best to win… My teammates’ presence in the team also motivates me to work hard every second in practice and matches. When I am on the ice in a match, I always take time to look back at the bench and see my teammates on the bench cheering for me; I have to give my hardest for them.
What does ice hockey mean to you?
Ever since I started this sport, I’ve dedicated my whole life to hockey. I am devoted to the sport so much, I can’t even imagine a day I won’t be playing anymore because it has become such a significant component of my life. It also has become a big part of my identity for the rest of my life, and I hope I can pass on what my family has given to me to my own family in the future. Playing hockey at Andover has changed my whole experience. Hockey is a chance to be part of a team and a family. I just always have such a fun time playing, whether it be just skating around on an outdoor rink, practicing with the team, or playing in a game. It is — even though I may dread a practice every now and then — the thing I look forward to. Whenever I’m on vacation or injured and I don’t play for a little while, I appreciate it so much more when I get to take the ice again.
How do you feel about the team camaraderie?
We have become so close already this season. We had the chance stay to stay overnight at the Taft Tournament this winter, [which] gave us a chance to bond as a team. The locker [room] is an excellent place to be close to one another and exhibit out team camaraderie. We often are all very loose and silly but also know the right times to be serious. We have each other’s backs on the ice as well, especially in the games that get very physical. People constantly remind one another to keep their heads up, so they can try to avoid getting injured. We protect one another on and off the ice and always have the chance to see 22 other smiling, familiar faces on the path.