Cathrine Wolf, whose preview of the college season (page 58) is a feature of the hockey package in this issue, is a reporter who knows a puck from a pepperoni. She played ice hockey for the women's club team at Princeton in the mid-'70s and well before that, growing up in White Plains, N.Y., she had become hooked on the Rangers (and Knicks). While she was at Concord (Mass.) Academy, Wolf played lacrosse, field hockey, basketball and softball, and her athletic pursuits continued unabated at Princeton, although she found time to take an A.B. in history, writing her thesis on the Southern abolitionist Moncure Conway. Wolf played ice hockey for three seasons at Princeton in a program that existed thanks to volunteer coaches, secondhand equipment, bake-sale-style fund raising and the intense interest of a small group of undergraduate women. Wolfs first coach was a well-meaning alumnus who put her at defense and, she says, "mostly watched us skate and thought we were cute."
By her senior year two ex-varsity players had taken over. "They noticed that I couldn't skate backward and moved me to wing," Wolf says; the team went 10-5 and to Providence for the women's Ivy League tournament. After spending the night in a boathouse, the Tigers upset host Brown to earn a shot at powerhouse Cornell in the finals. Says Wolf, "I knew we were going to lose that one when, early in the game, they started changing lines and some Cornell fan yelled, 'Go, Killer!' We were the kind of team that called our goalie Squeaky."
To her everlasting regret. Wolf never did score a goal in college. Perhaps she was hampered by a basic sympathy for netminders; she also played goalie for the JV field hockey and varsity lacrosse teams, and still holds the Princeton single-game women's record for saves in a lacrosse game (22 against Pennsylvania in '75 and Delaware in '76).
It was at Princeton that Wolf began sportswriting, reporting campus events for The Trenton Times, The New York Times and the late Philadelphia Bulletin. It wasn't unusual for her to cover a men's hockey game from 7 until 9:30, write and file 200 words, then suit up and make a 10 p.m. women's practice. That will teach one to make a deadline.
Soon after graduation she signed on with United Press International, spending two years mixing assignments in the field with stints on the desk. Occasionally while working the desk she would handle the stories of UPI senior baseball writer Fred McMane, whom she'll marry later this month. McMane's not big on hockey, but baseball is O.K. with Wolf. McMane, a catcher, plays in three softball leagues and last summer coached a team that Wolf, who plays first base, put together in the women's division of the New York Show Business League. The team went 11-0 and Wolf batted .400.
"We talked about getting married at home plate in Central Park," says Wolf, "preferably diamond four," but they finally decided on Prospect House in Princeton.
WOLF: AFTER WINGING IT, WRITING IT