Name: Alexis Moed
Location: Long Island, NY
Occupation: Advertising Account Coordinator
Growing with a lot of athletic friends, Alexis was exposed to many activities, from lacrosse to Taekwondo, but what she found herself passionate about isn’t a game that’s often associated with girls: hockey. “I always thought I’d end up as a college soccer or lacrosse player,” Alexis says. “Those were my strong sports before hockey.” At first her parents were afraid that she’d get hurt playing with the boys, so she wasn’t allowed to join a team. But once a girls’ team was started locally, Alexis jumped right in. This didn’t stop her from practicing with, and whipping the tail of, many a young boy. Coming to the game relatively late, at the age of thirteen, she had a lot of catching up to do. Most of her teammates and hockey-playing pals had been on the ice since they were seven or eight years old, which required her to dedicate a lot of time, and muscle, to stand out on a team. The sport wasn’t just fun and games for this young lady, it deeply influenced her decisions as she went off to college. “As my hockey became more serious with tryouts and having to consistently perform well, I saw the importance and the role that psychology played in combating the mental pressures of being an athlete. Because of this I decided to major in psychology.”
The challenges of this often grueling sport weren’t just physical. Alexis encountered a whole world of opposition as she worked towards her goal of being recruited for college. “There were teachers, and even coaches, who felt that the effort I put into playing, traveling for tryouts, and playing for various teams – one of which was out of state – was not as worthwhile as when the boys did the same.” When Alexis was fifteen, she hoped that she would gain the respect for her efforts after hockey was announced as an Olympic sport for women. Instead, it seemed to go unnoticed, and she continued to come up against disbelief, and at times even aggressive opposition, for missing school for tryouts and working the recruitment circuit. “I think that many people back then thought that women’s hockey would have a fleeting stint in the world of sports, or was less of a game when it was played by women. It was a constant challenge to disprove this; to show that women played the game just as hard as the boys, and were equally skilled. I definitely had times when I expended as much energy trying to gain respect and acknowledgment as I did actually playing the game.”
She recalls how difficult it was when she started playing on boys’ teams. “I used to play on an all boys team in prep school and sometimes I would get to an opposing teams rink and not have a locker room to change in, or the boys on the other team would come after me in the game and try to hurt me. I spent a lot of time changing in halls or outside the door of the locker room the rest of my team was in. My designated “locker room” in my home rink was dubbed the girls room but really it was just a closet underneath the stairs of the bleachers. It had hot water pipes running through it and not enough head room for me to stand up in. Putting my gear on was an exercise in flexibility and personal safety. Sometimes parents who didn’t know me would see me carrying my bag and sticks and would comment on how nice it was that I was carrying my brothers bag for him, but I don’t have a brother,” she says.
“For now, if I start playing in a new men’s league the first couple of games are usually the worst. I’ll get an extra check or punch to the face along the boards, and I have to wonder if I’m getting those because I’m the only girl out there. Generally, I ask if a team is opposed to having me around before I go play with them and there have been times where I’ve been told that it would be best for me to choose another team to join. I’ve found the best solution is to just play hard, play well, keep quiet, and soon enough the team comes around and you become just another “guy” on the team. I know I play with, and against, men who really respect me and give me a lot of credit for playing in their league and I appreciate that.”
She was lucky to have her coach and mentor, Dan Bedard, who helped to teach Alexis about offensive and defensive plays, as well as helping her to make decisions regarding her team choices, coach diplomacy, and how to build a career that would work in tandem with hockey. His dedication to her, and his insight, helped to foster the love that she has for the game, the ice, and the future of the sport itself.
Her commitment paid off. Her travel team in high-school won the nationals, she played for Boston College while attaining her degree, and she scrimmaged the Olympic team while in Lake Placid. Alexis has become one of the more prominent female players in New York state, and her experience has led to national exposure and recognition.
Alexis practices at the New York Islanders’ training facility one or two mornings a week, coupled with one or two weekly games to hone her competitive edge. And not one to take the gift she was given for granted, she also coaches hockey no matter how busy her schedule is. “Coaching gives you an entirely different perspective on the game. As a coach you see opportunities and traps in the game that players don’t always see right away.” She adds, “You also learn a lot about your ability to communicate something that is foreign to one person, but second-nature to you.”
When she’s not on the ice, or taking care of business, Alexis enjoys herself on water’s other form by sailing. She finds that the two overlap, even though it might not be obvious. “You have to read what the wind, current, and other competitors are doing and react to it.”
For burning up the ice, we think that Alexis Moed is a seriously Cool Girl!