GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – Erin Whitten Hamlen can add another couple of firsts to her already long list. She was the first woman to play in three different minor leagues. The Glens Falls native was the first girl to play in the Division II state tournament.
As of Saturday’s 1 p.m. ceremony at The Queensbury Hotel, she will be the first woman inducted into the Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame and the first inductee whose main tie to the area is not a professional team.
“I’ve had a lot of those firsts in my life,” said Hamlen, who started the women’s hockey program at Merrimack College last year. “I think I just happened to be in the right place at the right time in a lot of ways.”
There is a little more to it than that. Hamlen was the first woman to do so many things because she was talented and driven enough to create and take advantage of opportunities and timing.
She started in the Adirondack youth hockey program, like many boys her age, and she just kept playing. Her reputation preceded her to Glens Falls High School. And the male players already knew how well she could play in goal.
“She was kind of a fore-runner of girls hockey I would say,” said Dave Casey, a member of the committee that chooses inductees. “She always played with the boys more than the girls. She was very dedicated to being a hockey player.”
Casey remembers Hamlen as a young girl, when he was the Adirondack Red Wings trainer and used to sell old equipment to local players. Hamlen and her father bought a lot of goalie sticks from him.
This was not the first time Hamlen’s name came up for consideration. She’s been mentioned the last few years and was on the fan ballot last season.