Shieldmaiden: Taylor Nunez Makes Hudson Valley History

John C. Longton III

Staff Writer

Taylor Nunez is the first female hockey player to both try out and make the Hudson Valley hockey team. She is Hudson Valley’s legendary shieldmaiden, a female Viking warrior.

Nunez will be the team’s second goalie behind Stephen Riley, also a newcomer.

Last year, Nunez, a Bethlehem graduate, was the only woman on the Bethlehem varsity hockey team and will have the same unique status at Hudson Valley.

“I realized I could play with the guys around junior year of high school,” said Nunez.

Nunez said that men were more mature in college, saying, “They are more accepting of me this year compared to the last and in years past.”

Nunez said that it’s tough at times being the only girl. “We don’t use the same locker room and I miss out on that part of the bonding experience,” she said, but added that she doesn’t let that hold her back.

Nunez has been playing hockey since she was eight and says she has a special love for the game. “If you’re passionate about something just do it”, she said.

“I was excited,” said ice hockey head coach Matt Alvey, speaking on how he felt about Nunez trying out for the team. The only worry Alvey had was that Nunez would not have the “appropriate accommodations” or feel comfortable.

Alvey said that he has never coached or played alongside a female so this is uncharted territory for him.

“I treat her the same as the rest of the team”, said Alvey, but he also stated that he has a daughter and sometimes the “father inside comes out.”

“The other day Taylor took a puck to the head and I stopped practice”, said Alvey. “It turns out she was ok and she’s just as tough as the men.” He added, “[Nunez] has the skill set to compete at this level. And I can see her getting better.”

Alvey said, “I wished more local people took advantage of our open tryouts.” The coach said that all of the sports teams at the college have open auditions for both males and females and he added that he would like to see more people like Nunez take advantage of that.

“I encourage enough females to tryout that hopefully we can start a female hockey team someday”, said Alvey. He added that if there’s enough interest the college could field a women’s hockey team in the near future.

Nunez is a criminal justice major and sees herself as a police officer ten years from now. Her overall goal is to transfer to a school that has a Division III women’s hockey team and a forensic psychology program.

“Finding a school that has both these things is pretty tough”, said Nunez. Right now she has her eye on Castleton State, which fits her criteria.

The first home game of the season for the hockey team will be Saturday, Nov. 15 at 1 p.m. as the Vikings host the Broome Hornets. Last year Hudson Valley swept Broome beating the Hornets in all three games they played. The Vikings are looking to keep that momentum going in their home opener.


One Comment

  1. Jim Cunningham says:

    Hey what a nice story about a unique athlete!

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