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All In: Skaters geared up as pro women’s hockey heads to Lake Placid

The Troy Albany Ice Cats hockey program — established in 1993 — features a new generation of girls inspired by coaches who love and played the game.

Emily and Caitlyn Speck of Clifton Park are sharpening their skills in an organization with strong family roots. Emily, 15, and Caitlyn, 13, make the trek to Troy’s Frear Park as members of the Ice Cats’ U-19 and U-14 teams.

The girls’ grandfather, Richard Scammell, is the Ice Cats founder and longtime coach and administrator for the Troy Albany Youth Hockey Association. He organized the team in 1993 to give his daughters Heather and Jennifer a place to play with other girls.

Scammell knew a little bit about hockey. He was a forward for the Engineers in the late 1960s, graduating in 1969. The RPI Hall of Famer came to Troy from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, and made his home in the Capital Region. Thirty years after he graduated his daughters also became student/athletes for the Engineers. Heather graduated in 1998 and Jennifer in 2002. All three had solid statistical athletic careers donning the red and white in Troy.

Jennifer Speck has been coaching in the Ice Cats organization for the past eight years and now is one of the coaches for her daughter Caitlyn’s U-14 team.

“It’s just cool that I get to play the same sport that my mom played and my grandfather played,” Caitlyn Speck said.

The family plans to watch the upcoming National Women’s Hockey League season and 2021 Isobel Cup Playoffs at the 1980 Rink-Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid.

It starts Jan. 23 and runs through Feb. 5.

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