St. C. seventh grader playing for Penguins’ elite 14U team

At the ripe old age of five, Emily Cramer first learned the artful skills of negotiation.

Her parents felt it wise to have their young daughter become actively involved in dancing, though Emily had already developed a strong kinship for the game of hockey.

A noble endeavor to be sure thought mom and pop whose next suggestion was soccer, noting the popular international sport attracted appeal to both boys and girls.

Emily, however, was having none of that and continued to express a strong interest for lacing up the skates.

Nearly 10 years later, the St. Clairsville middle school seventh grader is not only an active participant in organized youth hockey, she is a member of a nationally ranked girls’ 14 & under team.

Furthermore, Emily and her parents departed today for the west coast – San Jose, California in particular where Emmy and her Pittsburgh Penguins-sponsored Elite Tier I team is competing in the USA Hockey National Championships to be staged this week.

Approximately a year into her ‘career,’ Emily opted for playing one of the sport’s most physically demanding positions – that of goaltender. “I love being a goaltender for lots of different reasons,” Emily described before making her first visit to the Golden State. “I feel pretty fortunate being able to play with a great group of teammates. It’s been a really good experience.”

And one which quite likely will significantly expand later this year.

Cramer, already regarded as a premier player at her position will later try out for the prestigious West Coast Select and is expected to be a member of that team’s roster.

The Select team will play in high profile U.S. events in Minneapolis and Buffalo and also participate in similar tournaments north of the border in Quebec and Toronto.

In July, Emily and her teammates are scheduled to travel abroad and take part in international play in Stockholm, Sweden.

Not too shabby for a 13-year-old young lady from Belmont County whose long-range plans include playing collegiate hockey. Her ultimate goal, not surprisingly, is one day qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Women’s Hockey Team.


CRAMER and her Pens Elite 14U team qualified for this week’s San Jose event after winning the MidAm District and recording a pair of shutout victories over the Ohio Flames and Columbus Lady Blue Jackets. Pittsburgh’s elite team has won the past for MidAm district titles…

DURING the Tier I Elite playoffs, Cramer came up big in goal, recording a shutout over then top-seeded Milwaukee in a semifinal game. Despite battling flu-like symptoms, young Emily regrouped and was the winning goalie in a 2-1 Pittsburgh championship game decision over Milwaukee….

AREA youth potentially interested in playing youth hockey may learn more by visiting the Penguins’ National Hockey League website and clicking on ‘Community’ where further details are available…

CRAMER is a longtime participant of the locally sponsored WAHA program. She started playing on an all-boys’ team at an early age…

OBVIOUSLY, the Penguins are now expected to win a 2013 Stanley Cup, though as the playoffs nearly always seem to indicate, all things are possible. No further proof is needed than last season when LA’s Kings snuck in as eighth seeds then ran the table to hoist the franchise’s first-ever cup….

A NUMBER of officials representing the Ohio Valley Board worked this year’s OHSAA Boys and Girls State Basketball Tournament at Columbus. Don Giffin was assigned the big school boys’ (D-I) finale involving Mentor and Toledo Rogers. Dale Lewis got the call for the boys’ D-IV title tilt between champion Villa Angela-St. Josephs and Leipsic. The D-I girls’ championship between Kettering Fairmont and Twinsburg was handled by Butch Minkemeyer. And Matt Hissom was assigned the girls’ D-II final involving Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown and West Holmes…..

ALL due respect to victorious Metro State, Saturday afternoon’s semifinal outcome felt more like a West Liberty loss than a Metro State win.

How much that early 15-0 Roadrunners’ breakout affected WL may not be fully realized. But Jim Crutchfield’s high-achieving quint discovered itself in an unfamiliar game-long play from behind mode. Never were the Black & Gold able to settle in to their usual comfort zone. What ensued was totally atypical 13-of-47 shooting from three-point range.

Disappointing? That goes without saying. But we were talking ‘final four’ here and Metro State was certainly worthy and deserving of Saturday’s victory.

Hard to say goodbye to Alex Falk, one of the school’s all-time greats and another in an annual number of high-quality student-athletes Crutchfield brings to the hilltop campus.

The good news: Don’t expect a measurable dropoff for one of the country’s elite D-II programs…..

Gibson may be reached at