Newcastle sisters and Lincoln Academy students Marley and Remy LeBel are playing for a different Eagle team this winter.
Both are fixtures on LA’s girls lacrosse team, and Marley plays on the LA’s soccer team, but for the last two winters, the girls have been playing ice hockey for the Mt. Ararat Eagles co-op team, which consists of players from Mt. Ararat, Morse, Lincoln Academy, Boothbay, Lisbon, and Oceanside.
The sisters are not only playing, they are leaders of the pack on offense. A sophomore, Remy LeBel has scored 14 goals and 10 assists to lead the Eagle squad with 24 points. Marley, a senior assistant captain, has scored 10 goals and has nine assists, and is tied with a teammate as second leading scorer of the team with 19 points.
Mt. Ararat wrapped up their regular season on Saturday, Feb. 4 with a win over St. Dom in Auburn to finish at 11-7 and seeded fifth in North A. A highlight of their season was beating top seed Yarmouth 2-0 on Jan. 30, the LeBels said.
Mt. Ararat takes on fourth seed Brunswick in the first round of the playoffs on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Bowdoin College at 8:15 p.m. Both teams call Bowdoin College their home ice. The Eagles lost to Brunswick twice during the regular season, including a 4-3 overtime loss in their last match-up.
Both LeBels started skating around the age of three on a neighbor’s pond in Damariscotta Mills. From the beginning they wore hockey skates. They learned to skate hanging on to a cone they glided across the ice. By age four, they were skating with a hockey stick and started playing age group hockey at rinks around the Midcoast, including at Bowdoin College, the MRC in Rockport, and at the Ice Vault in Hallowell.
Both their parents play ice hockey. Their father Mic LeBel played in high school, and their mother Katie LeBel picked it up as an adult and plays just for fun.
Marley initially gave up playing ice hockey when she entered high school. Last year, when Marley was a junior and Remy a freshman, their parents looked into opportunities for the girls to play. After some research and consulting with Lincoln Academy athletic director K.J. Anastasio, the sisters found a team.
“The co-op opened up the opportunity” to play, Marley said. When the opportunity came up to play high school ice hockey, both girls jumped at the chance to play on the Mt. Ararat co-op team.
Remy LeBel has played more club hockey than her older sister, including playing in the National U14 Championships last season in Philadelphia for her club travel team, the Casco Bay Mariners, out of Falmouth.
Their alarm clock goes off at 3:30 a.m., and they drag themselves out of bed for the drive to Brunswick for a 4:55 a.m. practice. They don’t mind, they say. They love the camaraderie of their new hockey family.
After practice, they shower, and arrive home around 7 a.m., about the same time their schoolmates are waking up to begin their day.
“It’s been fun. Really cool,” Marley LeBel said of the experience. She has enjoyed meeting new people from different schools.
“It’s hard, but it is fun,” Remy LeBel said. Both say the early morning sacrifice to play high school ice hockey is “definitely worth it.”
Marley LeBel said it was not that hard to juggle playing and schoolwork, even though she carries a difficult course load. “It is definitely a challenge, but it makes me more productive with early practices,” she said.
Both girls are excited to make the play-offs. “It was really nice to beat the number one seed,” Remy said.
After beating number one Yarmouth, Marley LeBel said “going into the playoffs is exciting. Anything can happen. All our games have been close.”
Marley LeBel said her favorite part of playing ice hockey is the team atmosphere; the games the practices, and making new friends. “Coming back to the sport has been fun, and playing with Remy,” she said. “Especially playing on the same line, and in the same sport together.”
Remy LeBel said her favorite part of playing is “definitely the community of the co-op team. I have a lot of fond memories of all the travel, games and practices.”
Team members have to fundraise to help with team expenses, including ice time. Both girls said they are thankful for their local sponsors, including Bath Savings, Oxbow Brewing, Chickadee Solar, Karl’s Kids, and Cheney Financial Group.
Both LeBels said they would “totally” recommend the sport to anyone interested in playing.