Of Hockey Sticks and Homework
Sammy Davis knows what it’s like being on a good team.
For the past few months, the first-year Doctor of Occupational Therapy student has played for the Boston Pride in the National Woman’s Hockey League. Months of practices led to her participation in a coronavirus-shortened two-week season and playoff run that originally was scheduled to end February 5 but ultimately was canceled due to COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the league.
The Pembroke native knows it would have been a lot more difficult to juggle professional hockey and graduate study without her team of fellow OT students.
“If I didn’t have my classmates at the Institute, I don’t know how I’d been able to get through school,” she said during a phone call from Lake Placid, NY, where the season had occurred before its cancelation . “I’ve really been able to rely on them and without that it would have been much more difficult.”
Davis was captain of the Boston University women’s hockey team for three years, which included being redshirted during her junior year because of a hip injury. (College players have five years to complete four years of eligibility). She took advantage of that extra year to add a master’s degree in education while also deciding she wanted to become an occupational therapist.
Davis was accepted to the MGH Institute last spring, around the same time the league was holding its draft. As much as she wanted to turn professional and continue her hockey career, she informed the league that staying in Boston for her studies was her top priority. The Pride, which had compiled the league’s best record in 2019-2020, made some last-minute trades so they could choose the forward as the league’s overall number one draft pick.
Davis got one semester of OT school under her belt before the team started up in the fall. During the past few months, she has successfully juggled classes, homework, and projects with her OT classmates with regular gym workouts and practice as many as four evenings a week. “It’s been a challenge some days, I have to admit, but it’s been a great experience,” she said.
While the Pride entered the season as favorites to win the championship, the team overcame early struggles to make the playoff round, helped in part by Davis's four goals.
Despite the disappointment of not being able to compete for the league's Isobel Cup, Davis plans another year of balancing hockey and school – although she’s looking forward to the off season. “I could use a few months of being in school and focusing on one thing,” she said with a laugh. “The offseason will be nice.”