Tupper Lake teen headed to USA Hockey nationals

Abby Stalhammar is headed to the USA Hockey National Tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with her team, the Chazy Selects, on April 3. (Enterprise photo — Oliver Reil)

TUPPER LAKE — In just six days, a Tupper Lake student will head for Sioux Falls, South Dakota to play in the USA Hockey National Tournament.

Abby Stalhammar was on the bench with her team, the Chazy Selects, at the New York State Amateur Hockey Association state tournament when the buzzer sounded and sealed their place in nationals.

“I didn’t even think it was like, real almost … it like, blew my mind,” she said.

Stalhammar, 14, didn’t pick up hockey right away in life. Growing up, her older sister Izabella was a figure skater. Stalhammar started figure skating in an effort to be just like her sister, and did it almost all her life. Several years ago, she quit and decided to join Tupper Lake youth hockey at 10 years old.

“I really just wanted to like, be with all the boys because they would always talk about like, their fun weekends at the hotels they’d sleep at,” she said. “I wasn’t nervous to play with them because they’re my friends.”

After some time with the Tupper Lake team, she tried out for Canton’s 12U girl’s team. She didn’t make it the first time, but tried again the following year and made it. She played with them for two years. Last year, her father Magnus heard from an old college friend about tryouts for a brand new team, the Chazy Selects. Stalhammar tried out and made it, and the team played their way to states.

The team has girls from all over, including the Syracuse area, Glens Falls, Irvington, Vermont. Emma Clark and Briar Beaney from Lake Placid are also on the team. Only one of the girls on the team is from Chazy, Magnus said.

Stalhammar’s mother, Brigit, said that the Chazy Selects have just 14 girls on the team, while other teams in the state have around 25. This means a lot of playing time for each girl, as well as a lot of extra effort. She said they work incredibly hard to achieve what they have.

This year, Stalhammar said, the team lost a lot of girls, making their success uncertain. Still, the Selects returned to states, finishing second in New York after losing the semi-final bout. They were now qualified for nationals.

“I’m very excited, it took a lot of like, hard work to get there,” she said. “Everybody’s pretty excited.”

The only option for high school hockey in Tupper Lake is the varsity boys team, Izabella explained. Because they check — when one player uses their body to knock another player to the ice or boards to separate them from the puck — the boy’s team is not an option.

Stalhammar said that after nationals, she’ll be trying out for the Adirondack Northstars 16U team out of Glens Falls, since she’s aged out of 14U. Since 2021, the 16U Northstars have won state championships every year.

Two of the girls from the Northstars 14U team, who are twins, play for the Chazy Selects right now, Magnus said. Their team won the national championships in California last year. Stalhammar said they’re her best friends now. Playing with them is inspiring, she said.

Stalhammar’s love for hockey has evolved exponentially. When she played with the boys on the Tupper Lake youth team, she liked the sport enough. She said that as she broke into girls teams, starting with Canton’s 12U team, she liked it more and more. Moving to an even better team, the Selects, she started to truly fall in love with the sport.

Stalhammar wants to pursue hockey collegiately and beyond, she said. Despite the family being New York Rangers fans, she hopes to attend Boston University.

“That’s like, the biggest hope, like I want to play college and try to go farther than that,” she said.

The Chazy Selects include Bailey Barnett, Briar Beaney, Sophia Browning, Anya Buhrmaster, Emma Clark, Miriam Felton, Bianca Flanagan, Ele Fullum, Rhianna Gilligan, Megan Miller, Maddie Oliver, Morgan Oliver, Reese Peryer, Rowan Ryan and Abby Stalhammar.

The team is currently running a 99pledges fundraiser to help with their April 3 trip costs to South Dakota. Donations can be made at app.99pledges.com/fund/chazyselec.


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