CHAZY — Amidst the blaring sirens, fireworks and freezing rain, the smile on Ray Guay’s face was instantly recognizable.
Guay’s Chazy Flyers girls’ hockey team, consisting of 14 area athletes ages 16 to 19 from Beekmantown, Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, celebrated its USA Hockey Tier II 19U National Championship Friday evening with a parade along Route 9 in Chazy.
The 14 players — Kiley Regan, Kallie Villemaire, Amanda Peterson, Alexis Guay, Clara Giroux, Christina Emery, McKayla Duffy, Jess Huber, Sydney Battistoni, Brooke Reid, Jordynne McDougal, Ashley Terry, Lauren O’Connor and Emily Raville — were welcomed home with a ceremony held at the Weathercock Tavern.
“Getting to the national level is just an honor to be there, for one thing. But to actually win nationals is above and beyond what I expected as a coach,” Guay said. “I’ve coached hockey for a number of years, but by far, this has been the most rewarding tournament that I’ve ever been involved with.”
A large number of community members came out to support their hometown team Friday.
“We’re a small community, and we’re a very hearty community,” Guay said. “That just goes to show that, for such a small town, the support just to help us get there was an enormous feat. The community support has been tremendous.”
Villemaire, a sophomore at Beekmantown, registered a goal in double overtime, helping Chazy defeat the Keweenaw (Mich.) Storm for the national title Sunday in San Jose, Calif.
Villemaire said all she and her teammates felt was total elation.
“It was amazing,” Villemaire said. “All I remember seeing is the puck hit the back of the net and everybody coming and jumping on me. It was the best moment of my life. This feat shows that we have a lot of heart and that if we put our mind to do something, we can do anything.”