Wanted: One Hockey Goalie

“Put up a poster in the post office,” said Lillie’s co-coach Tim Luzadre
There are more than 20 on Cory Lillie’s roster, though he is waiting for a goalie before scheduling games. Craig Macnaughton

Cory Lillie, when asked Saturday how his high school-age ice hockey team was doing at the Buckskill Winter Club, said, “We need a goalie.”

“Put up a poster in the post office,” said Lillie’s co-coach Tim Luzadre. “Wanted: A Goalie.”

Last year’s goaltender, Ben Waife, a Shelter Islander, had decided instead to go out for basketball, Lillie said. And while there’d been some volunteers — and a promising 10-year-old roller hockey prospect who is too young to be considered — the steep cost of goalie equipment was also a sticking point.

The club, Lillie said further, didn’t have any goalie pads or goalie masks — goalies were expected to provide their own, “though the pads alone cost around $1,000 and the helmets do too.”

There were, he continued, more than 20 on the Buckskill team’s roster, though, until the goalie situation is solved, he’s hesitant to schedule games with teams up the Island, even though some coaches, who have two goalies, have said they’d loan Buckskill one of theirs in games.

The high school team practices Sundays at 6:15 p.m., and on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:45.

Interestingly, there were few skaters as of noon on Saturday. “It’s either too hot or too cold,” Lillie said, with a smile. “Maybe they’re sledding. . . .”

One person who didn’t mind the cold was Krista Bussi, the club’s new figure skating instructor, a native of Buffalo, who had driven down to the East End the previous night. 

The 29-year-old former Disney on Ice performer agreed that on that day in Buffalo, on a rink “very much like this in the downtown area,” you would see scores of skaters, even though it was 1 or 2 degrees outside as opposed to the 11 degrees it was here. 

Bussi, who skated competitively throughout high school and college (the University of Delaware) before signing on with Disney on Ice for five years, plans to add new figure skating classes to Buckskill’s offerings, most notably a class for children from 18 months to 3 years old, and one for adults.

She had started at the age of 3, she said in answer to a question. As for adults, she said, “Maybe they’ve been thinking about giving it a try, but just haven’t found the class that was just for them.”

Figure skaters, she said in reply to another question, generally peaked between the ages of 16 and 21, citing Bradie Tennell, the 19-year-old U.S. figure skating champion, as one of those who had “peaked at the right time.”

With Disney on Ice she’d seen much of the world, including North and South America, Europe, and Scandinavia, though by no means all. Africa, Australia, and New Zealand were among the other places she’d like to go, Bussi said. Meanwhile, she’s here for the next couple of months, hoping to strengthen in that period Buckskill’s figure skating program, after which, she said, she’ll return to Buffalo, where she also coaches. 

“It does get warmer there, you know,” she said with a smile, before heading out for her first skate-around on Buckskill’s rink.

A flier lists Adult Learn to Skate, Theatre on Ice, Baby Blades, Adaptive Skating, Skate Fit (“off-ice conditioning, jumping, and stretch class for skaters — a great complement for those wanting to advance their skills on the ice”), and Adult Fitness Bootcamp as its new classes this month.

The Winter Club, whose website is buckskillwinterclub.com, is open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Krista Bussi, the figure skating coach, hails from Buffalo.Jack Graves