This winter Amelia Spencer was going to be an athlete without a team, a skater without a rink, a talent without a showcase.
But thanks to the gargantuan efforts of Lynn English Director of Athletics Dick Newton and Vice Principal Gary Molea, Amelia now has a team to call her own: the Winthrop High School Lady Vikings.
Amelia, a 12-year-old, seventh-grader at Breed Middle School, has received a waiver to play varsity hockey for the Winthrop High girls hockey team. The co-op program between Lynn and Winthrop was supposed to end last year, but the connection continues thanks to the combined efforts of Messrs. Newton and Molea – and Amelia Spencer, daughter of Steve and Laurie Spencer, will be the one carrying on the Lynn hockey banner in Winthrop. Amelia also holds another distinction: she is the youngest player on the Winthrop team.
And Spencer has been enthusiastically welcomed in to Winthrop by her teammates and coaches.
Winthrop Coach Butch Martucci is familiar with Spencer’s hockey-playing talents. She has competed for Martucci’s Winthrop Youth Hockey teams for the past four seasons.
“Amelia has been with us in our youth program for and she had indicated that she would like to continue in our high school program,” said Martucci. “She’s a fantastic person, a typical Lynn kid – tough, but just a solid person all around and her teammates love her. She played in our opening game [a 3-1 win over Beverly Saturday] and will see a lot of ice time this season.”
Amelia has earned a spot on the defensive tandems in front of goaltender Summer Tallent, one of the best players in the area. Tallent had 39 saves versus Beverly and Amelia contributed well to the team’s success on the penalty-killing unit.
A youth hockey standout in Lynn and Winthrop
Amelia Spencer enjoyed a stellar youth hockey career in Winthrop and Lynn. “We [Winthrop] did well and reached the state finals – we lost to Arlington in six overtimes,” she recalled.
Amelia began her career at the age of four in the Lynn Youth Hockey “Learn to Skate” Program under the direction of Kevin Clougherty. She was the only girl on the Lynn Mites and Squirts teams.
She is grateful to her hockey coaches, especially Butch Martucci and Dan Driscoll, who is the director of athletics at the Berkshire School.
“I’ve learned so much hockey,” said Amelia. “I thank all my coaches for teaching me the game and making it fun.”
Playing for the Winthrop High team means that Amelia needs transportation for practices at the Larsen Rink at the Mike Eruzione Center in Winthrop.
“My parents and grandfather [Buddy Barrett] take me to practice,” said Amelia.
“We’re very proud of Amelia,” said Mrs. Spencer. “She absolutely loves skating and she has since she was little. She makes a lot of sacrifices to be able to skate seven days a week. She misses out on a lot of birthday parties and sleepovers, but it’s her decision.”
Enjoying her new team
Amelia said the transition has been smooth to varsity hockey thanks to a group of helpful Winthrop teammates.
“It’s been so much fun and they’re my family now,” said Amelia. “I have some great partners on defense, Abby Holmes, Fallon Hurley, and Brooke Costin. We have very smart and intelligent players. Our goaltender is amazing and our captains are great team leaders.”
Carrying on the co-op tradition
Amelia used to go and watch the Winthrop-Lynn-Saugus co-op teams that were formerly called the Lady Bulldogs.
“I want to step in to Abby Stafford and Kayla Morrill’s shoes [two former Lynn-based players who excelled for the Winthrop team and graduated last June],” said Amelia.
Laurie Spencer said there were some anxious moments as the Lynn English administrators sought the waiver for her daughter to play this season.
“There are a lot of people we need to thank,” said Mrs. Spencer. “We thank Dick Newton and Gary Molea at English because they were in contact with my husband, letting him know that the process was in the works. Thankfully, they were able to get the waiver and Amelia was able to continue the Lynn-Winthrop girls co-op program.
Amelia said her favorite women’s ice hockey players are Olympic gold medalists Meghan Duggan and Cayla Barnes, Lynn’s Savannah Norcross, who is a sophomore on the Boston College team, and former BC superstar goaltender Katie Burt, who is now playing professional hockey.
This past summer Amelia played softball in the Wyoma Little League organization. She is the starting catcher for the Breed Middle School team that had an excellent fall season.
An older sister, Madison Spencer – a former winner of the Grace Rogato Award – is an athlete at St. Mary’s High School where she plays basketball and softball. “I haven’t decided about high school,” said Amelia, whose Winthrop team faces off against St. Mary’s in the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.