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Jessica Harvey realizing hockey dream as Harvard recruit


Jessica Harvey had to wait until softball season started in April to wear the uniform of her school, Norwood-Norfolk, for the first time.

That’s just one of the sacrifices the senior has made in order to realize her dream of being an NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey player.

Harvey will graduate from high school next month and then in the fall she will head to Harvard University and join the prestigious Crimson women’s hockey program, led by coach Katey Stone.

“I’m definitely excited,” Harvey said. “It’s going to be tough to go away from the north country, but I think it will be a good experience.”

Harvey’s other team this school year has been a junior hockey team in Canada, the Ottawa Junior Senators. A forward, she led that team in scoring in league games, with nine goals and 10 assists in 34 contests.

During hockey season Harvey would go to school at Norwood-Norfolk, then head to Ottawa every weekday for practices, and would drive to either Ottawa or Toronto on the weekends for games.

“The sports (at Norwood-Norfolk) is the first thing I had to miss, and that was hard,” said Harvey, who played girls soccer and boys hockey with the Flyers in the past. “Sometimes I was a little cranky in school. I’m sure that wasn’t very fun for my friends. But time management is a big thing in college and it was (big) this year for me. It was hard, but I got through it and it made me more confident for next year.”

Another tough choice for Harvey was passing up the chance to play her college hockey just a 15-minute drive from her hometown at Clarkson.

“I was a Clarkson fan all my life,” Harvey said. “It was actually between Clarkson and Harvard. I always had my heart set on the two north country schools (Clarkson and St. Lawrence) or the Ivy League. It was a very hard decision.”

One of the factors in the decision was Harvey’s admiration of Stone.

“She’s a great coach and a great person,” Harvey said. “She gives the most respect to her kids and they all give her respect right back. To listen to her talk hockey is amazing.”

Having to miss being part of Norwood-Norfolk teams has made Harvey appreciate the current softball season even more. She’s a first baseman for the Flyers, who had a 6-8 overall record through Tuesday.

Norwood-Norfolk made the state Class C quarterfinals last year, losing to Section 2’s Greenwich.

“I think we definitely have the potential,” Harvey said of a return to the state playoffs. “We are coming together.”

Flyers coach Becky Burns can relate to Harvey, who some think looks enough like her to be related. Like Harvey, Burns was a standout athlete as a girls basketball player at Alexandria.

“She’s a genuine kid,” Burns said. “She is such a hard worker. She’s going to give you 100 percent, whether she can do (the task) or not. She’s going to try her best. She’s not all wrapped up in being accepted in certain groups. Jess just seems to be real focused on her hockey or her sport team she happens to be playing on at the time. She’s a really committed kid. The girl has no free time whatsoever, but she still managed to work hard in school and keep her academics up and she is salutatorian of her class.”

Said Harvey of her coach, “We definitely have a good relationship. She’s someone I can go to and ask anything I need to ask. She will do the best to help me, even if it’s about different sports. She helped me in the eighth grade when it was difficult to play (varsity). She had done that, too.’

Another influence on Harvey was former St. Lawrence Central and St. Lawrence University hockey player Marianna Locke.

“It was hard to cheer for St. Lawrence,” Harvey said. “It was definitely worth it. She was a great role model and she really helped me. I called her a few times and talked about some of the decisions she went through.”

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