In the seventh edition of my Green Mountain Gals series, I sat down with defensemen Rachael Ade. Rachael started skating at the age of four, and just a year later, she was playing hockey. When asked what drew her into the game, Rachael gave a lot of credit to her dad, who played as well.
Growing The Game
In her rookie year with the Connecticut Whale, Ade put up two assists in 16 games, however, it would be her work off the ice that would put her in the spotlight, as she won the NWHL Foundation Award, which is awarded to the player who’s most actively applying the core values of hockey to her community as well as growing and improving hockey culture. “It was a little unexpected, it was more of just because of things I was doing and enjoyed doing,” said Ade. She mentioned that she would take any opportunity given to her to help to grow the game in Connecticut. Currently, Rachael is spending time with the New York Rangers Youth Developmental Program in Danbury, CT, helping the Girls program, as well as training with the Whale. She went on to note that if she played anywhere next season, it would be in Connecticut with the Whale.
Collegiate Career At UVM
The 5’9 defensemen would spent four years at UVM, putting up 11 goals and 21 assists for 32 points in 143 games. Rachel was also a part of the longest game in UVM women’s hockey history, along with Madison Litchfield and Brittany Zuback. “It was pretty crazy,” she said when asked about that game. Ade then went on to say, “You’re excited, but it’s also a sigh of relief,” she continued when talking about what was going through her mind once the game concluded.
When asked about the importance of girls like Maggie LaGue and Sammy Kolowrat have on young girls, Rachel said, “I think it’s a great impact, I think there are about 6-9 of us who went to play at a higher level, which is great,” Ade said. She goes on to mention that the biggest factor they are trying to push overall is ability, and while parents help, Ade mentions that being able to see it happen in front of their eyes is even better.
Sisters On Skates
It’s a common theme that the game of hockey runs in the family, as Ade has two younger sisters, who are currently playing for the Boston Shamrocks, the same team Rachael played for before heading to UVM.
“It’s been pretty cool to share that with them, and obviously I would have supported them in any sport they played, but to be able to share ice hockey with them is special,” Ade said. Rachel mentioned that when her sister comes to visit her, they try and find open ice and Rachel tries to pass on her knowledge of the game down to them. “It strengthens our bound. They may get a little mad at me when it comes to tough love,” laughed Ade.
“Both experiences have been really good, in terms of me enjoying them and being able to play with so many talented girls,” said Ade. She also spoke about how being able to join the Connecticut Whale helped her continue her job as well, which she mentioned will have to support her in the future. When the PWHPA started forming, Ade said that she knew that their goal was to grow the game for women and she wanted to take that chance and join the new up and coming league. In the PWHPA, Ade credits the traveling and different sponsors like Bauer and Adidas, along with NHL teams like the Arizona Coyotes and New York Rangers, for helping to grow the PWHPA.
When asked if in the future, there needs to be one league for the game to continue growing, Ade spoke about having multiple farm levels, “I think yes, there has to be one top league, and at the NHL level, they have that, but when I look at it, I think there needs to be more bottom feeder leagues and I don’t think we’re there yet,” the defensemen said of the next steps ahead.