Cholish brings unique talent to MHS hockey

Cholish brings unique talent to MHS hockey

By Nick Forbes, Round Table Reporter

Jordyn Cholish suits up the same way as everyone else on the Middletown hockey team. Throw on the shoulder pads, pull over the jersey and pop the helmet on. But when she hits the ice, Cholish is unique. Her fast-paced play and her well-developed stick skills allow her to take over a game and have gained the respect of her coaches, teammates and just about anyone in attendance.

Cholish didn’t always start out with stick dreams. Growing up in West Chester, Pa., Cholish became a somewhat of a soccer star. In middle school, she began to garner the attention of high school and college coaches for her superb work as a goalkeeper. By the eighth grade, Cholish was balancing soccer and her new-found love of hockey.

After being told she could have a potential soccer career in college, she decided that might be the way to go until she suffered a torn ACL right before her 10th-grade season. Down but not out, Cholish began rehabbing her knee and simultaneously leaving soccer in the rearview mirror.

“The determination, dedication, hard work and sheer will to come back from that devastating injury was defining,” said Jeff Cholish, Jordyn’s father. “She has never looked back or at another sport.”

The sport that Cholish had picked up as a hobby at age 9 was now becoming her life. It was clear that after watching her play for her school team in West Chester, she needed more competition and more opportunities to hone her craft. Realizing their daughter’s immense talents, Cholish’s parents, Jeff and Laurie, did everything in their power to give Cholish the best competitive edge, and she took those opportunities and ran with them.

“We provided Jordyn with opportunities and what she did with those opportunities was up to her,” said Laurie Cholish.

From shuttling Jordyn all around the east coast to compete in games and tournaments to providing personal coaches and trainers for the young prodigy, the Cholish’s first priority was to push Cholish and help her achieve her dreams. It wasn’t long before she was playing hockey year round on multiple club and school teams.

“It can be difficult and tiring at times,” said Jordyn, “but in the end it’s always worth it.”

Then came the opportunity to play in the Junior Women’s Hockey League (JWHL). The competition was head and shoulders above any of the other women’s hockey team in the Pennsylvania area, the problem was that the team’s training facility was a two-and-a-half hour drive from the Cholish’s home in West Chester.

Impossible to make that drive nearly every day of the week, it looked highly unlikely that Cholish would play for the U19 Washington Pride team, until Cholish showed up at the team’s tryouts and blew away the competition. She made the team in a landslide.

How could Cholish be denied this life-changing opportunity? That’s when, at only the age of 15, she made the decision to leave her home in Pennsylvania and live with a student in Middletown, Md., who also plays on the same team.

“I was looking forward to it. It was more exciting than it was scary,” said Cholish. “It was kind of like a new school with a fresh start.”

And with her fresh start, Cholish brought a breath of fresh air to not only her travel team but also the Middletown High School hockey team. Upon her arrival at her first practice, she impressed head coach Earl Cox.

“Jordyn is just an extremely smart player who can adapt her game simply because of the knowledge she possesses,” said Cox. “When I run the practice, I can always count on Jordyn performing the drill correctly.”

The strong increase in her play also led Cholish to establish herself as a leader on the team. She would take younger players under her wing, show them how to perfect a drill they were working on and all the while radiating the love for the game she was playing.

“She’s a strong leader who always brings an aggressive competitive edge to whatever she does,” said Cox. “I would take 15 Jordyns on my team.”

With Cholish on the team, splitting her time between offense and defense, the MHS ice hockey team finished with a regular season record of 9-3 and propelled into the playoffs.

But early in a matchup with the Urbana Hawks, Cholish took a hit from the side and fell awkwardly to the ice. She left the ice under her own power, but after medical examination it was determined that she had again torn her ACL.

“”It was a huge blow to our team,” said Cox, “but the whole time she was leaving the ice and on the bench, she kept shouting, ‘Just win! Just win!’”

Forced to watch from the sidelines, Cholish saw her teammates top the Oakdale Bears and take home the coveted Monocacy Cup, a goal which had eluded them for the past two seasons.

“Of course, you want to be out there playing and fighting with your team, “said Cholish, “but I was so happy for everyone who had a part in this. It felt well-deserved.”

Cholish continues to rehab her knee and plans to keep pursuing hockey in college. She has no intention of letting this injury keep her from playing the game that she has grown to love.

“She’s a tough, determined girl,” said Cox. “I have no doubt that she’ll come back from this tougher than ever.”