Left photo courtesy of LA Kings
I’m the brother of Juls Iafallo of the Buffalo Beauts of the National Women’s Hockey League. When Juls and the Beauts opened their season at home on Oct. 13 against Connecticut, I had a game in Canada with my team. I’d caught the first Beauts game on YouTube, but my game with the LA Kings prevented me from getting on Twitter for this one.
However, my family was there, along with so many of our friends and neighbors from Eden and the surrounding community, and I heard all about the roar at HarborCenter when Juls scored her first NHWL goal. When I got the news, you can only imagine how it felt to her big brother.
Some of you may know the story of Juls and I growing up in Eden, raised by our incredible parents: Dad having us shoot oranges into buckets, coaching us on our separate teams until we were about 12 or 13. Mom encouraging us, supporting us, driving us everywhere. Both being patient when we did damage to the house.
Juls is two and a half years younger than me. We practiced together, pushed each other, were and are each other’s biggest fans.
It’s important to understand that when she was really young, there wasn’t a pro league to aspire to. I had the dream of college hockey and the NHL. She had the dream of college hockey. I’m really glad the NWHL came around, and hope it continues to rise to greater and greater heights. Same for every initiative invested in advancing the women’s game.
Photo courtesy of LA Kings
Photo courtesy of Iafallo family
Photos courtesy of Iafallo family
When Juls was at Ohio State, her intense focus was squarely on playing her best for the Buckeyes and earning her degree in physical therapy. She worked so hard in school. When she accomplished both, we were all so proud of her.
Now she’s playing pro hockey in Buffalo, in a league with many of the best players in the world, on a team owned by the people who own the Sabres, in an organization that treats Juls and her teammates first-class.
I know how much this means to her. You could see her spark in her first pro games. Besides her energy and skill, Juls’ vision on the ice is awesome. She has always been a student of the game. We learned that from my parents, but I’ve also learned from watching her. And her stickhandling…wow.
Juls always wanted to be the best. That drive is what got her here. Now she is among the best.
She scored that goal in Buffalo’s home opener, and everyone who has ever met her rejoiced. What an amazing moment. We were all so proud.
But fact is, we are always proud of how in everything she does, my sister, Juls Iafallo, represents our family and community.