A Filthy Filberts team member gets a jersey. Photo by Mary Reilly.

The Filthy Filberts

Eugene’s gender-inclusive hockey team takes to the ice for the first time

Alongside the jerseys of National Hockey League teams like the New Jersey Devils, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins, a green, white and rainbow jersey has been hung on the walls of Springfield’s The Pedaler Bar and Restaurant: the Filthy Filberts.

The jersey represented a new gender-inclusive hockey team, which will play its first scrimmage Friday, Jan. 12.

Other name suggestions included the “Speeding Rainbows” and “Puck the Patriarchy,” but co-captain Mary Reilly says the team settled on the Filthy Filberts because it reflected the region and the sport all in one.

“‘Filthy’ is a term that’s used in hockey when someone makes a ridiculously great pass,” Reilly says. “‘Oh that’s dirty,’ or ‘That’s filthy.’ We like the alliteration of Filthy Filberts.”

Reilly says the team met at The Pedaler last Saturday to distribute jerseys, and she brought a spare for the bar to hang on the wall alongside its NHL collection. The Pedaler calls itself “the sports bar for all your ‘other’ sports. 

Reilly wanted to create a team in Eugene but never felt she had the time, so when she met co-captain Danielle Walsh, who had only recently begun playing hockey, she knew she had an in, she says.

“When I saw Danielle’s ability and enthusiasm for organizing, I realized that I could do it with her,” Reilly says. “I approached her with the idea of a tournament team, starting with the Vegas tournament.” A tournament team competes primarily in tournament-style events rather than scheduling one-on-one games.

The Las Vegas Women’s Classic will take place Jan. 25 – 28, and the Filthy Filberts will play against women’s teams from across the country. Although the Filthy Filberts will compete in women’s tournaments, the team is gender-inclusive, as noted by the rainbow patch on the team’s jerseys.

“Having the opportunity to play with people who share your identities can be really important to help people feel more confident, safe, and welcome,” Walsh writes in a press release. “I’m really glad we’re creating that kind of space with the Filthy Filberts.”

Bill Poppie of Poppie Design created the mascot printed on the Filthy Filberts’ jerseys: a living filbert with a hazelnut helmet racing down the ice with a glare. So far, all fourteen members of the team who will be traveling to Las Vegas for the tournament have a jersey.

Although the Filthy Filberts team was only just created, Reilly has been interested in hockey her entire life. She grew up skating on a local pond in Montana, but her three older brothers never let her join in on their hockey games, she says. Instead, Reilly’s mother got her into figure skating.

“I have a picture of myself on skates when I was three years old,” Reilly says. “I was supposed to grow up and be Dorothy Hamill, I think.”

However, Reilly never lost her love for hockey. As a morning radio show co-host, she often took her son to watch Arizona Coyotes’ games with her media pass while they lived in Phoenix. The first time Reilly took to the ice to play hockey rather than perform routines was at a charity game, she says.

“I played with former hockey professionals and local media people,” Reilly says. “I had such a great time.”

After her second child was born 24 years ago, Reilly began competing with a local women’s team in Phoenix, which brought her to her first ever Las Vegas Women’s Classic. Now Reilly is going to return to Las Vegas with a team of her own.

To prepare, the Filthy Filberts will be competing against a “ragtag collection of folks,” Reilly says, in the team’s first ever scrimmage. Issues like scheduling and finances have prevented the new team from gathering for such an event before.

“This is going to be our only time to skate together before [the tournament],” Reilly says. “All these women have different jobs, different schedules. It’s like trying to wrangle cats.”

Reilly invites everyone in Eugene to come watch the Filthy Filberts “slip and slide” around the rink Jan. 12, at 5:45 pm at The Rink Exchange, 796 W 13th Avenue.

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