Andover Girls Hockey Co-Captain Rachel Neyman ’22 does not look to impress the crowd with flamboyant displays of skill; instead, she leads through her calm presence as a defenseman. Neyman’s hockey journey started with skating at four years old, and she has never looked back.
“I think even just when I started hockey, I loved it from the moment I stepped on the ice. I started skating when I was around four, and I started playing hockey around five or six, and I think ever since I started, I’ve just fallen in love with it. I started on a boys team when I was younger, and I don’t know, I just looked forward to going to the rank every single day. I looked forward to every practice, every game, and it was just something that I really spent time on, and I focused on and put my effort into it,” said Neyman.
Neyman is not a player that steals the audience’s attention, but she says her vision of the ice as a defender combined with her hockey IQ allows her to take control of the game.
Neyman said, “I would say I’m not a very flashy player, but I guess I’d say I like to play hockey the way it’s supposed to be played. I really like systems and I would much rather make the right pass or be the one to start a breakout than be the one to dangle around five people and go in and shoot and score. I think I’m just kind of almost like a quarterback, I guess, just a very calm figure. I’m a defenceman, so I’m usually towards the back end of the ice. I like just being able to have the vision of the whole ice in front of me. I think I kind of like to be the one in control on the ice, the steady figure in the back.”
According to Co-Captain Indi Wagner ’22, Neyman complements Wagner well with her drive to improve every facet of the team’s performance between periods in games. Before games, Neyman leads by focusing the team on the upcoming game.
“During games, in between periods, [when] we have conversations with the team, Rachel’s really focused on systems and on what we need to improve, and I think I try to keep the attitude in the locker room really jokey and fun and light-hearted. She is really good [at] focusing the team and getting everyone on the same page in between periods. And I think also before the games, during warmups and stuff, she’s very good about getting the team ready in the mentally zoned hockey sense,” said Wagner.
Neyman’s drive to win does not come without her willingness to have fun with her teammates. Claire Colvin ’23 emphasizes Neyman’s ability to maintain both a fun and focused attitude throughout the season.
Colvin said, “She is really funny and she uses humor to galvanize the team. She is really relatable and funny, but she also knows how to flip the switch and be more serious. She still makes it so hockey and playing for GVH is fun, but she makes the team something to mutually work for and win for each other.”
Neyman has committed to play hockey at Middlebury College starting next year. After all the obstacles with recruiting that came with Covid-19, she says it feels “special” to be able to accomplish a life-long goal.
Neyman said, “Playing college hockey has always been a big goal of mine, whether it be D1 or D3, it’s just always something I’ve really aspired to do. Growing up playing hockey so long, I couldn’t really imagine going to college and not experiencing it any longer. So being able to do that is really special and it’s also just really rewarding knowing that my years of hard work and training have… paid off. It’s definitely been a really hard process, especially with Covid-19, through recruiting and finding ice time and finding ways to communicate with different coaches. But I’m really glad that it all worked out in the end.”
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