The team members of MsConduct Chicago didn’t know one another when they started playing hockey together. Now, it’s hard to keep them separated because they’ve grown so close.
MsConduct is an adult women’s hockey organization in Glenview, Ill., just outside of Chicago, that allows women over 18 to play hockey at all levels. MsConduct has three women’s teams — in divisions White, Blue and Green — that compete in the Women’s Central Hockey League (WCHL).
“We all met playing in league, and we’re all pretty good friends now,” said Brittney Hillebrand, who is a veteran playing for MsConduct Blue. “We hang out together outside of the team and enjoy spending time together and enjoy getaways on weekends for tournaments.”
Brittany Schmidt also skates for MsConduct Blue, which is made up of younger skaters in their 20s in the organization.
“We just have so much fun playing in league together,” said Schmidt, who has played four seasons with the team.
The WCHL is comprised of teams from Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana with more than 40 organizations competing. It’s a recreational league, so teams don’t take games too seriously. That especially rings true for MsConduct, whose organizational motto is: “Win or lose, we booze.” That pretty much sums it up.
The MsConduct team members know how to enjoy themselves. Most of the women wear fishnet stockings over their padding during games to match the woman portrayed on the team logo on the front of their jersey.
“The camaraderie is great,” said Hillebrand, who answers to the nickname, “Pickle” and is the team jester. “We totally mess around like we’re sisters. It’s not forced; it’s like one big family. It’s fun.”
The majority of the women on MsConduct Blue are in their 20s and continuously strive to improve every time they hit the rink.
“We’re all still learning. We’re not in the lowest level in hockey in Chicago,” Hillebrand said. “We’ve all played for about three or four years, so we know the fundamentals. We try to stay in our positions and try to stay in an offensive mindset.”
MsConduct Blue got a lot of hockey in this year, playing 18 regular-season games along with playoffs in the WCHL. Regular-season games were scheduled about once a week. MsConduct Blue also does some occasional long-distance traveling to tournaments, playing in Las Vegas a few years ago. Every year in May, MsConduct competes in the Brew City Women’s Hockey Tournament in Milwaukee.
Along with playing indoor hockey, Schmidt and a couple of her MsConduct teammates are in an outdoor league in Chicago.
The biggest outdoor tournament MsConduct plays in is the Labatt Blue/USA Hockey Pond Hockey Championships in Eagle River, Wis. This past February, the MsConduct organization sent four teams to compete.
All seven players, including Hillebrand and Schmidt, who competed in the Pond Hockey Championships for MsConduct 3 are members of the MsConduct Blue team. MsConduct 3 had its best run in four years. The team went 3-0 in pool play in the Women’s Beginner Division and finally lost in the semifinals of the playoffs.
The women were a little surprised at their success in the tournament.
“Pond hockey is totally different for us,” said Hillebrand, who played in her first Pond Hockey Championships. “We don’t have any type of training, we don’t practice at all for this tournament. We’re used to the indoor ways.”
The MsConduct team members were excited they did so well in the tournament, but it was all about having fun.
“It’s fun to come up here and see each other outside of that normal time when we see each other once or twice a week at practices and at games, and we’re able to spend some more time with each other,” said Schmidt, who competed in her third Pond Hockey Championships.
“We come up with the expectation just to have fun and hang out together,” Hillebrand said. “It’s like a big family vacation, if you will for our team. If we win, we win. All the teams support each other and it works out really well.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.