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UP CLOSE: Team Lake Placid twins shine on the ice

January 11, 2019
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

SARANAC LAKE - Wilmington hockey mom Tammie Knox sat quietly, watching the Sara-Placid girls 14 and under hockey team take on St. Albans, Vermont.

Like all hockey arenas, the Saranac Lake Civic Center was cold that Sunday afternoon, Jan. 6, but Knox came prepared with two blankets. Her eyes never left the action, even when she was mid-conversation, staying focused on her daughters, 14-year-old twins Dariana (defense) and Danaya (center) Patterson. Every time there was a shot on goal, Knox gasped as if someone just dropped a glass or a kitchen knife near a person without shoes.

Around her, other parents shouted, "PRESSURE!" "SHOOT!" and "KEEP YOUR STICK ON THE ICE!" Not Knox. There was no point.

Article Photos

Wilmington twins Dariana and Danaya Patterson pose after a victory over the St. Albans 14 and under girls hockey team at the Saranac Lake Civic Center Sunday, Jan. 6.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

"They can't hear me out there," she said, "and even if they could, they're not going to listen to me anyway. They have a coach for that."

Dariana and Danaya not only play for Sara-Placid but two other teams, a 19 and under team and the Lake Placid High School team. They just competed in the 2019 International Children's Winter Games in Lake Placid. They also play soccer in the fall and softball in the spring.

In the winter, most of their time is taken up by hockey, but the twins don't mind it that much. Knox said it keeps them entertained.

"It can be hectic, but the days when they're not practicing or when they don't have a game are more difficult because then they come to me and are like, 'Mom, we're bored.'"

The girls just became teenagers only a year ago, so they're kind of shy and they giggle through much of their conversations. Sometimes Dariana will start one thought, laugh, and then Danaya will complete the sentence.

"[Playing on four teams] is really busy, and it's kind of annoying, but ..." Dariana said and chuckled.

"It's always good to make more friendships with new people," Danaya said.

Despite being twins and playing on the same teams, Dariana and Danaya said they occasionally get competitive with each other.

"Sometimes I hop on defense, and we'll play the same position," Danaya said. "We'll yell at each other if we make mistakes, and we'll try to be better than the other person."

Dariana and Danaya started hockey as little girls, after watching their older siblings and mother compete. As a young girl, Knox was originally a figure skater, but after a few years, she joined a mixed-gender hockey team as well.

"It was kind of funny. I would get off the ice after a figure skating practice then have to quickly change in the girls locker room and join the boys for hockey."

Although they're still young, Knox hopes her daughters stick with hockey when they get to college. Danaya even expressed a desire to play professionally, but she's still mulling it over. Dariana would like to continue playing hockey as well, but she might transition fully to soccer. Even with the ambiguity, Knox smiled at the thought of her daughters progressing the family's hockey legacy.

Dariana and Danaya are stars on the hockey rink, yet Knox is the heart and soul behind their efforts. On top of being a single mother who fully embraces her children's interests, she works three jobs as a sales associate at the Marshalls department store and a cashier at a Stewart's Shops convenience store in Lake Placid and a hockey referee.

Compared to most sports, hockey is expensive. It's not like soccer, basketball or wrestling where all you really need is an appropriate pair of shoes and a uniform. Hockey requires skates, sticks, pads, helmets, gloves and uniforms. You can normally recognize the kids who play hockey by the massive duffle bag dragging across the floor behind them.

Plus, playing for three teams requires a lot of travel.

"I've taken them to Massachusetts, Canada, pretty much all over the Adirondacks, Plattsburgh, Canton, Potsdam, Massena," Knox said. "They love it, so I do it. To see them go out on the ice and try their best and end up scoring and saving, it's just amazing. I can't even put it in words what it's like to watch them."

Knox said sometimes it can be tough making every game.

"I have a 17-year-old son, Dustin, in high school who also plays hockey," she said, "so splitting my time between the three of them can be a challenge. Sometimes I miss a game because I'm at somebody else's."

The twins had another game against St. Albans at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid shortly after the game they won in Saranac Lake. Knox wasn't able to make it because she had to attend an informational meeting for the International Children's Winter Games.

"Without her working three jobs, we wouldn't be able to play all the sports we do," Danaya said. "We're really thankful for her, even if she does have to miss a game every now and then."



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