EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — East Grand Rapids High School’s Jane Bregenzer is a pioneer in her own right, taking the ice as the first and only girl on the school’s boys varsity hockey team.
It’s a feat few people have done before, so it’s not surprising she has been turning heads all season.
“I get a lot of weird looks when we’re shaking hands in the handshake lines,” Bregenzer said. “When we’re warming up, a lot of people will look back and be like ‘oh there’s a girl on their team?’”
To her teammates, Bregenzer is just one of the guys.
“She skates around, passes the puck, shoots the puck, she scored a goal last weekend,” team captain Robbie Stuursma said. “She just fits right in.”
Bregenzer said the support of her teammates has made the transition easy.
Up until this year, the junior had played on an all-girls travel league. She said the switch has given her more time with friends and less time on the road.
Head coach Chris Newton said Bregenzer was the first girl to ever try out for the team. She beat out several boys and earned her spot just like anyone else.
“We told her that it’s a tryout, and we’ll take the best 20 people that show up,” Newton said. “She was one of them.”
Newton said girls have the option to try out for most high school sports that only have a boys team.
“If she is good enough then why not?,” Stuursma said. “If she fits the part, then why not put her on the team if she can help the team win?”
While Bregenzer’s ultimate goal would be for her high school and other schools in the area to have an all-girls team for her to play on, this is the next best option.
Bregenzer told News 8 the experience has helped her grow as a player and a person.
“I feel like I have gained more skills for hockey. I feel like I’m a better player now, and I have also made a lot more friends,” she said.