| Apr 03, 2008

Feature Article - April 3, 2008

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Feature Article -April 3, 2008 Hockey is a family game for the Allisons of Parham By Jeff Green

When Debbie and Paul Allison were the parents of three young daughters, they encouraged them to go out for figure skating at the North Frontenac arena.

“The older two were into figure skating and the youngest was just learning how to skate, when a neighbour said 'You’ve got to start them in hockey, it's so much fun’, so we threw them all in at the same time,” recalls Debbie Allison.”

She couldn't have known it at the time, but the day that brought 8-year-old Laura, 6-year-old Jessica, and 4-year-old Suzanne to the first practice of the Frontenac Flyers' girls team, would be the beginning of over a decade of driving her daughters to and from hockey rinks on almost a nightly basis.

Laura is now attending St. Lawrence College and she is cutting back on hockey a little bit, playing on the intermediate team with the Frontenac Fury. Until last year, she was playing with the Kingston Ice Wolves and was on the Sydenham High School team.

Jessica, the goalie in the family, is really busy with hockey these days. She played goalie for Sydenham this year, and for the Kingston Ice Wolves Midget AA team. The Ice Wolves play in tournaments throughout the province and their season will end at the Ontario Provincials in Brampton on the weekend of April 11-13.

Suzie, the youngest of the Allison girls, also plays for Sydenham, but she plays her league hockey in Perth, with the Blue Wings.

All of this leads to a pretty crazy schedule for Debbie and Paul Alison.

“Our normal winter schedule includes a game or two each weekend, and Jessie has practices on Tuesday and Thursday nights, power skating on Wednesdays, and there is school hockey on Mondays,” Debbie said.

Then there are tournaments on many weekends.

“It's quite common for me to be driving to Kingston or Napanee and Paul to be driving to Perth or somewhere else on a weekend day.”

With their eldest daughter Laura now in college, their hockey obligations are actually less onerous than in the past when they were ferrying three girls around and taking on coaching and managing roles.

As any parent knows, each child is different, and this extends to the attitude of the three Allison girls towards hockey.

“Laura has a lot of skills. She made MVP at Sydenham and was the fourth highest scorer in the league, but for her hockey has always been about having fun.”

Suzie, the youngest, has a similar attitude, but Jessica, who was picked for goalie back in the Frontenac Flyers days because her name was the first on the players' list when the coach brought the team together on the first day, has always had an intensely competitive streak, which is fitting for a high-performance goalie.

Next week, she will be between the pipes when the Ice Wolves play at the tournament that will determine the top Midget AA team in Ontario, the highest level of girls’ hockey for Jessica's age group.

“I've already told them that none of my grandchildren are playing goalie,” said Debbie Allison, “I can't take the pressure. If they win, they’re a hero, but if they lose ...”

Win or lose, Jessica will keep playing hockey next year, which will be her final year at Sydenham High. There will be scouts at the Midget AA tournament from many places, but the Allisons are not thinking that far ahead.

“After this season, we'll see where the girls want to play next year, and we'll keep going,” said Debbie Allison.

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