Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

PMHS sophomore Ava Karame, already in USA development mix, becomes first girl picked for varsity ice hockey in six years


Without a doubt, no PMHS team gets more attention than varsity ice hockey—and for good reason. The Pelicans won the state championship in 2017 and 2022 and have collected 12 Section 1 D2 titles.

That makes it difficult for an underclassmen to make the squad—and a big surprise when that underclassmen is a girl. Enter Ava Karame, a sophomore who this season became the first girl to be selected for varsity in six years.

Karame has the credentials. This summer, she attended the USA 15U camp, a program that feeds into the USA 18U national team. Her brother was a motivator in her decision to get into the sport. She started her hockey journey at age five by joining him in the Pelham youth leagues.

“The USA national development camp is a huge exposure camp,” said Karame. “Last year, I got into the 15U Camp, and this year I am trying out for the 16U.” There is training “with the best 2008s in each state. If you’re good enough, you will make the 18U Camp and then you could potentially be on the women’s 18U USA hockey team, which would be insane.”

“I would love to play D1 hockey,” she said.

To try out for the PMHS team, Karame went through a three-step process, like any other player. “There were three tryouts, and everyone made it past the first round,” said Karame. “After the second tryout, there were a few cuts, and after the third, the team was finalized.”

Karame said she was warmly welcomed after being added to the team. “My brother is on the team, so he was excited for me,” she said. “I also have a few players on the team who made it with me that I play club hockey with, so I was happy for them as well as they were for me. When I’m on the ice, people don’t really treat (me) any differently, surprisingly enough.”

The move onto varsity may have been smooth, but at club level she’s had to dealt with words aimed at her because she is a girl. “I haven’t experienced anything in varsity—the boys are much more mature—but there have been a few things that have been said to me in club,” she said. “All the guys (get) this too, just my comments are a little more directed towards me being a girl.”

It is difficult to make the PMHS team, let alone set a precedent for other girls aspiring to play. But Karame does not feel she has expectations to meet because of her sex. “I think there are higher expectations for a lot of the seniors,” said Karame. “Our first line is unbelievable. They are great players. There’s pressure on them, but I would say I have just as much pressure as every other rookie who made it.”

“The step from club to varsity is huge,” she said. “The difference in skill is so significant. That’s why this is such a great experience for me. I am learning so much about the game.”


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About the Contributor
Shannon Winston, Assistant Managing Editor
Shannon is a junior at Pelham Memorial High School. She has written for the Pelham Examiner for the past year. She loves playing field hockey, lacrosse, sailing, and running indoor track. She enjoys engaging with her community through service and writing about town events in the Pelham Examiner.

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