Few have done as much for women’s hockey in both New England and the United States than Scott Fusco (Burlington, Mass.).
Fusco was a star in men’s hockey, playing for the 1984 and 1988 US Olympic ice hockey team and winning the Hobey Baker Award in 1986 with Harvard. He was also inducted in the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002.
Still, his most substantial impact on hockey comes on the women’s side. He’s currently the president of the East Coast Wizards, which is the largest girls hockey program in North America. On top of that, he’s the commissioner of the New England Girls Hockey League.
In the latest Rinkwise podcast, host Stephanie Wood talks with Fusco about his upbringing in New England hockey, how his three daughters inspired him to get involved in women’s hockey and the growth of the girls’ game.
On the state of women’s hockey in Massachusetts:
Fusco: “The growth has been great for the sport. One of the benefits we’ve seen in our program and in the New England Girls League is most of the programs in that league have multiple teams in that age group. What that provides is the opportunity for girls to be on a team with players of similar skill level and similar age. A lot of the towns and local towns have girls programs and one of the drawbacks is sometimes they don’t have the numbers or the dept. So you might have beginner players playing with some strong players or some of the younger, stronger players get moved up age groups, which leads to a host of issues.”
On girls playing boys hockey at a young age:
Fusco: “I think in high-level boys hockey, there are some benefits. The speed of the game, sore of the physicality, the competitiveness, all those things are good, good things. And if you’re a player at that level, a really high-end girl player, there can be a lot of benefits to that. But I would suggest to play on a girls team as well. Because if you’re good enough to play at the highest level of boys, you’re probably a pretty strong player in the girls game, which means you’ll have the puck a lot.”