Not even coronavirus and isolation can keep the spirit and camaraderie of hockey at bay. We love this!
Original story posted here.
Players on the Mount Laurel-based Jaguars hockey team normally play in a rink and with a puck.
But the global coronavirus pandemic has them instead practicing from separate living rooms and with a now-precious commodity: toilet paper.
Let’s back up.
The group’s season was prematurely canceled last month due to COVID-19 social distancing orders, but the women’s team still found a way to stay connected by creating their own version of the “Toilet Paper Challenge.”
It’s an online challenge in which each teammate records a four-second clip of herself hitting a toilet paper roll with a hockey stick thrown from a person off screen. The short clips are spliced perfectly together into a longer video, making it appear as if they are passing the makeshift puck to one another.
“We’re not professional athletes but we still have to stay healthy physically or mentally. Whether it’s hitting a toilet paper roll or going out for a walk, we just have to keep moving,” said Sally Tarabah, a team manager. The 30-member team is part of the United Women’s Hockey League, a travel recreational league based in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
The 35-year-old Sewell resident said it has been a fun and different way to bond with people she considers family, beyond WhatsApp messaging and Zoom yoga sessions.
She came up with the idea after seeing a Ukrainian hockey team, who the Jaguars have competed against in the past, execute their own version of the internet stunt.
“It’s not just about playing hockey, although we love the sport. It’s about the social aspect of things. We don’t care as much about the winning or losing,” she said.
The team has traveled the world together for tournaments, including in Ukraine. One player’s fiancé even proposed to her on the ice a few months ago, Tarabah said.
“We’re all one big family,” Tarabah said.
Her teammate, Karen Bauer, is the video editing extraordinaire who collected the clips from each member and strung them together seamlessly using an app.
Bauer said she has been stressed lately caring for her mother, who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People with the respiratory disease are more likely to experience serious complications from coronavirus.
The 34-year-old does her mom’s grocery shopping and errands, to ensure she doesn’t leave their Delran home and catch the potentially deadly coronavirus. Anytime Bauer leaves her house, she makes sure to have hand sanitizer.
The video helped Bauer get her mind off those anxieties, and promote a positive message.
“We just want to promote team bonding," Bauer said. "Just because you’re practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t have bonding experiences from afar. In 2020, we have the technology where we can still see each other.”
As for whether the team would replace pucks with toilet paper permanently, Tarabah said it’s not likely given the national shortage.
“Well, they seem to be going for a very high rate now,” she said. “We might have to save them.”