Watch the Wings boys’ hockey team and you’ll see a long black pony-tail take the ice.
Samantha Wu, 17, is a senior at Linden Christian School and has been on the boys’ hockey team for the second year in a row. She loves playing with the boys’ team because of its atmosphere.
"Since we are a Christian-based team just the way we play, and the way we present ourselves is a lot better than the other teams I have played for where there’s no Christianity on the team," said Wu, who has been playing hockey for 11 years.
"When I play for the school, it’s like the whole school is behind you as well, but there’s also that core base that bring everyone together. Playing for God and playing for an audience of one."
Darryl Rempel, assistant coach of the Wings, said Wu is a strong starting goalie.
"I would definitely say that she is the starter of the team this year," Rempel said. "We count on her like we would anybody else."
Rempel remembers the team making it to finals last year. The Wings lost after a nine-round shootout with Wu in net.
"The court was just eating it up, they were cheering her on," Rempel said. "She made a glove save in the sixth round — she had the whole place buzzing."
Some of the challenges of playing with the boys include a size difference and having to change in a different dressing room, Wu said. But her team always keeps her involved.
"But one thing that makes it easier to play on the boys team is that the guys really accept you," Wu said. "They make you part of the team even if you may be a female. They always keep you in the loop, and keep you part of the team, that’s been a really good part of playing with the boys this year."
The tougher trials she has to face come from other teams and fans.
"We’ve had a few disappointments last year where a few fans, actually fans are worse than the players, it really surprised me how they treated her and how they talked to her," Rempel said. "But overall it’s been a very positive experience."
Wu said keeping God in mind while she plays is important to her.
"God has blessed us with a great life living in North America," Wu said. "He’s given us such great talent to play hockey, and I think we just have to give it back to God and just say ‘this is a gift that we’ve been given’ and just use every ounce to glorify Him."
Rempel said as teachers they encourage their athletes to live their faith on the ice.
"We believe that it’s important that we live our faith out everywhere we are," Rempel said. "Hockey presents a unique challenge because it is a fairly intense sport, and I think it’s an opportunity for us to demonstrate our beliefs on the field of play."