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Interview with Amber Moore of the New York Riveters

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Getting to know Amber Moore of the New York Riveters a little bit better.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

About one month ago I did a profile piece on all four of the New York Riveters' "practice players", including defenseman Amber Moore. Recently I was given the opportunity to interview Amber Moore and get to know the woman who wears #2 for the New York Riveters a little bit better.

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Mike Murphy:

You are one of four players on the New York Riveters that grew up playing hockey in California. When did you first get bit by the hockey bug? Was it roller hockey or ice hockey that first got your attention?

Amber Moore:

I originally started playing hockey because my step-brother was playing goalie. I begged my mom to let me play, but she was a nurse practitioner and did not want to see me in the emergency room. My step-dad Rob is a super hero, and he ended up convincing my mom to let me play. That Christmas there was a hockey stick under the tree. My mom still actually has my first hockey stick. I started with roller hockey in typical California fashion. There were a couple of families that would go out to the Netscape parking lot in the heart of Silicon Valley and play together. I started playing ice hockey in 4th grade, and never really went back to roller, other than a quick stint during high school. I'm still not entirely sure I know how to stop properly on roller blade. Some of the best memories I have of growing up in California were of playing hockey with all seven of my family members.

MM:

Skating has been one of your strengths since before you were the captain of the Jr. Sharks 19u AAA team. Has skating always come naturally to you or was it something that required a serious investment of time, focus, and energy on your part?

Amber Moore:

Well thank you! Honestly, I really did not bloom in hockey until I was about 14.

When I was in eighth grade I told my mom that I was going to play Division One college hockey. She sort of shook her head, but then told me that when I found a college that we would figure out how to pay for it. I worked, skated, and essentially lived in the rink during high school.  Once I was able to drive, I would often go to skate at 6 AM during the summer during times when the ice was dead, and at midnight on Fridays after adult league finished. Due to financial trouble, I took a year off of playing travel hockey when I was a sophomore in high school. I played for the NCWHL women's league and men's adult league at a local rink. In that year I gained a huge amount of confidence in my game and also was able to spend time focusing on specific aspects of my game—especially skating. When I went back to travel hockey the following year I was a different player. I love hockey and have always been willing to do anything it takes to play at the highest level.

MM:

Did you know any of your current New York Riveters teammates before the NWHL was established?

Amber Moore:

I knew Jenny Scrivens from playing hockey in California growing up. When I played for the Jr. Sharks our biggest rival was the Cal Selects. My junior year we went into three overtime periods in the championship game at Regionals to determine who went on to Nationals. Cal Selects ultimately won, but all rivalry dissolved when Jenny and I were teammates at Cornell. I was so excited to learn that she was going to be playing on the Riveters and I reached out to her before the season started!

Cherie Stewart is one of my closest friends and we have been having a blast this season. Even though we share mutual friends, we did not formally meet until we skated together this past February at Empire Games, coincidentally on the same team as Dani—and with Mark as the Coach! I reached out to Cherie because she was driving to Lake Placid from Brooklyn, and the first time I met her was when I was in a car with her and two of our teammates for five hours. We quickly bonded, and now I annoy Cherie every practice because we carpool to the rink together.  She is my ride or die. :)

MM:

How and when did you hear about the National Women's Hockey League?

Amber Moore:

Serendipitously, I played at City Ice with Dani's brother Rich and got to know Dani. I skated with her last year on the Lasker Lady Hawks and then she asked me to try out in the spring!

MM:

Did you know you wanted to be involved with the league right away?

Amber Moore:

I got the biggest case of butterflies in my stomach when I heard about the league from Dani. To be completely honest I felt that I had aged out of playing competitive hockey, especially after taking three years off of playing. I was also slightly hesitant to get involved knowing that I was starting grad school part-time in the fall and taking on more responsibilities for my job at Achievement First as Department Head and leader of a Teacher Empowerment Group. Dani asked me to come to the open tryouts and I was ecstatic. In the fall, Dani emailed me saying that the Riveters were still looking for Defenseman. I asked her a bazillion questions, including if there was going to be wifi on the bus. Ultimately, I decided that the opportunity was just too amazing to pass up and I committed. I am so glad that I did. This entire experience has been incredible, and I am so grateful to be back in the hockey world.

MM:

You last played college hockey in the 2008-09 season at Cornell. Was it a challenge to get your game and conditioning back to where you wanted it to be for the inaugural NWHL season?

Amber Moore:

After playing hockey at Cornell, I played 8-man on Cornell Women's Rugby Football Club team until I suffered an ACL injury in my senior year. Post-graduation I moved down to Mississippi for Teach for America, and believe it or not the closest rink was two and half hours away. In my first year of teaching, with a forty-minute commute to school each way, the drive to the rink was not possible. So I took a hiatus from ice hockey and started running. I've run a series of 5K races and three half marathons. It is an interesting switch from hockey, but takes a ton of mental strength and has kept me in great shape. I also made sure to bring my roller blades down to Mississippi, and would often rollerblade Sunday afternoons on country backroads—next to tractors. After living in Mississippi for three years, I moved to Brooklyn and knew immediately that I wanted to play hockey again. I started playing again last fall on Dani's brother's team at City Ice. This spring I ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon the day before the NY Riveters open tryouts. I was in pretty good shape, but probably would not have survived if I did not drink about nine Gatorades that weekend. Before the season started I upped the number of times I was hitting the gym, and also got on the ice with Cherie to work on my stickhandling and positioning.

MM:

Having watched you play it's clear that you don't shy away from the physical aspect of hockey. Have strength and physicality always been cornerstones of your game?

Amber Moore:

I hit my growth spurt in 7th grade and shot up to 5'7'' which made me taller than the majority of boys that I played against, and girls. Additionally, I think that playing men's adult league growing up forced me to be a more physical player in order to compete. I have never backed away from the corners, or from using my body. Playing rugby in college for two years reinforced any habits that I already built.

Amber Moore standing next to Shenae Lundberg and Elena Orlando.

MM:

Do you feel like you are a good fit with the Riveters' systems and style of play?

Amber Moore:

We are a gritty team. We do not have any of the huge names in the league, but we are a group of incredibly talented well-rounded players. I have never been a flashy player, and just like to get out there and grind down the other team. I would say that my style fits with the systems that we are running this year. I am the first to admit that if we are going to win games I need to stay out of the box...

MM:

Do your students know that their pre-AP Biology teacher is a defenseman on the New York Riveters?

Amber Moore:

Some of them do, but definitely not the majority of them. I definitely want to bring some of my students out to a game in the future though! My whole classroom is framed around being the change that you wish to see in the world, and it would be awesome if they got to see their teacher being part of the very change necessary for women's sports.

MM:

Can you talk about Achievement First and how you got involved?

Amber Moore:

That could take up a lot of space, the short version is that at Cornell I majored in Sociology and Psychology and minored in Education. I knew that I wanted to be a teacher my junior year in college. I joined Teach for America after college and was placed at Humphreys County High school in the Mississippi Delta. Although I do not believe that Teach for America is the solution for educational inequity, I felt that the work I was doing was necessary because of the dire need for teachers in the Delta. I was changed in so many ways by the relationships that I formed with students and staff and miss them all so much.  After teaching in Mississippi for three years, I knew that I wanted to grow as an educator, and be closer to my family (my mom was the oldest of eight and grew up in North Jersey). Achievement First is known for their ability to develop teachers, and I had a couple of friends that were working at AFBHS and loved it. I joined the team and really have been enjoying my experience. Working at a charter school is incredibly intense I normally work 11-12 hours a day, but the students are amazing and I have become a drastically better teacher in the last year. AF has also given me room to develop and hone other skills such as leading groups of teachers. This year I am serving as Science Department Chair with an amazing team of powerful women and also leading a Teacher Empowerment Group for new hires.

Amber Moore on the Riveters' bench.

MM:

What was going through your head when you were high-fiving all of those little girls after hearing your name called last Sunday before the Riveters' home opener at Aviator Sports and Events Center?

Amber Moore:

I would be lying if I said I did not tear up.

I thought back to when I was a little girl and I went to the Team USA game vs. Team China in San Jose. I won a jersey during one of the intermission shoot-outs that I had skated in as a kid, and then I was able to get the jersey signed by the team. I still have the jersey hanging in my closet at home.

It is so important for young women to have clear vision of what is possible in women's sports. Part of empowering young girls is providing them with multiple images of strong women.  The NWHL is rewriting the narrative that only men can be seen as powerful forces in sports. I am so grateful to be a part of the history that is being written.

MM:

Is it your goal to earn a contract with the New York Riveters or another NWHL team next season?

Amber Moore:

I would be thrilled to earn a contract with the New York Riveters for next season. Due to grad school and my career, I am not able to move cities for another few years.  Playing on the Riveters has been an amazing opportunity, and it would be incredible to get a chance to play again next year.

MM:

When Amber Moore isn't playing professional hockey, grading papers, or teaching her students, how does she spend her free time?

Amber Moore:

When I'm not teaching or playing professional hockey I'm going to grad school part-time at Columbia Teacher's College. I am in my first semester of working on my Masters of Sociology and Education, with hopes of one day going back for my PhD. Other than grad school, I love hanging out with my friends, visiting my grandpa in New Jersey, exploring new places around New York, cooking, eating, and hanging out with my dog Chicot.

MM:

Is there anything you'd like to say to New York Riveters fans?

Amber Moore:

You are all amazing! Thank you so much for your overwhelming support! You guys are fueling the NWHL and making the dream a reality and we could not appreciate you more!

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A special thank you to Amber Moore of the New York Riveters for taking the time to make this interview possible. You can get to know Amber Moore even better by following her on twitter at @aimoore1221 and you can support her by picking up her jersey here from the NWHL's shop.

Thanks for reading. Let's go Riveters!