Holly Leitzes Leads Icewomen, But Don't Call Her Superstitious

Some hockey players have been known to eat chicken before every game to ensure their optimum performance. Others insist they must lace up their left skate ahead of their right.

Harvard women's hockey co-captain Holly Leitzes used to have a ritual of practicing in a pair of red and white striped socks every day.

But it wasn't superstition. The socks were just comfortable.

"I'm absolutely, 100 percent not superstitious," Leitzes says.

Rejecting the rites many players worship, she still achieves a level of intensity and consistency that people notice.


"I like to look around the locker room and see everyone dressed and ready and focused," she says. "If one person deviates, I think it takes away from everything."

But if Leitzes does adhere to any rituals, it's strictly out of routine. Leitzes has been a hockey player since the age of seven, and the ice and the habits associated with it are her daily bread.

"I've been skating since I could walk," she says, while describing the nearly full-sized ice rink her father built in the back yard of their Duxbury, Mass. home.

She's been a stand-out on the ice ever since those early days. Until she began playing for Milton Academy when she was 12, Leitzes was the only girl on her teams.

Now the leader of the Crimson defense, she comes up with vital plays game after game.

Harvard coach Katey Stone cites Leitzes's game-clinching goal in overtime against St. Lawrence last year.

"She's one of the best [defenders] in the league," Stone says. "She is an extremely dedicated athlete both on and off the ice."

And Leitzes achieves a level of intensity and consistency that sparks her team.

"She finds it from within," Stone says.

Yet Stone expressed surprise that Leitzes claimed aversion to superstitious rituals.