Port Orange, Florida isn’t exactly known as a hockey hotbed. That fact didn’t stop Delaney Belinskas from not only reaching the college level, but also starring for Division 1 Boston College. Belinskas’ journey went north for the 2008-09 season when she joined the Ohio Flames 14U team. She’d also dress for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite program at the 14U level and Williston Northampton School (2012-16) before joining the Eagles.
Belinskas starred at Boston College from 2016-20, wearing an “A” on her jersey as a senior in 2019-20. That season, just a year ago, she also managed to score a career-high 20 goals and finished with 26 points (20 g, 6 a) for an Eagles team that made the Hockey East playoffs.
With her college career now behind her, Belinskas was forced to make a decision as to where she would play her pro hockey. She was selected in the second round, 10th overall, in the NWHL draft back in the spring, but elected to not sign with the Metropolitan Riveters. Instead, she decided to join the PWHPA and try-out in the New Hampshire region.
Belinskas, who should provide New Hampshire with a strong scoring option on the wing, recently sat down with ‘The Women’s Hockey Tribune’ to talk about her hockey journey, decision to join the PWHPA and more!
WHT: What drew you to the sport of hockey as a young girl, and what fueled the passion that has led you on a very impressive career?
DB: I was drawn to the sport because of my dad and older sister. My dad grew up playing hockey, and my sister started house-league when my mom was about to sign me up for figure skating. Once I saw her out on the ice playing hockey, I immediately changed my mind. I’d say it was the best decision of my life!
Growing up, I knew hockey was what I wanted to do. I had a dream as a little girl to play college hockey. Being from Florida and a female, I was determined to prove that a female hockey player from Florida could have an impressive, successful career.
WHT: What drew you to the PWHPA? What about the organization’s goals and values stood out to you?
DB: The PWHPA has the values and goals every athlete should follow, honestly. I chose the PWHPA because I want my future daughter to be able to tell all her friends and family that she wants to be a Professional hockey player. I chose the PWHPA because they are courageous and not afraid to tackle any obstacle that comes their way. Our voices (the players) are so important to the PWHPA. Not only are we able to talk, but the PWHPA members are also there to listen and take action.
WHT: How has your experience with the PWHPA been so far?
DB: Well, this is my first season so due to the pandemic I haven’t had much of a season so far! I can say the few games I have been able to play in were unbelievable. Bill Flanagan has been doing everything in his power to keep our team on the ice as much as possible. I’m grateful for that and cannot wait for the season to start!
We’ve done video chat meetings as a team and we’ve done phone calls as a whole organization. My experience this far has made me feel welcomed and included, even during these strange times.
WHT: I always like to ask this question because the answers can vary so much, what is your favorite memory in the sport of hockey?
DB: One of my favorite memories in hockey has to be having Ned (my Best Buddy) in the stands every game. If you aren’t familiar, ‘Best Buddies’ is a nonprofit organization that creates one-on-one friendships for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
He was always so excited to see me and give me a huge hug and critique my game. I would always see him dancing in the stands right on the glass. He loved the sport of hockey, but most importantly loved watching me play. I was a superstar in his eyes and I brought so much joy into his life. He will never understand how much of an impact he had on my college career. Truly, he made me understand that hockey is much more than just a game.
WHT: What are some of your goals both personally and for the region as a whole this coming season?
DB: My goals for the team would be to have a season. No one knows what to expect and things can change day by day. Obviously, we want to win as many games as possible, but I would like to see us grow as a unit and tackle adversity as one.
For me personally, I would like to have fun. Hockey has always been something that has brought the most happiness in my life so I cannot wait to get back playing games with some of the best talent in the world.