Katelyn Pippy has two passions in her life, ice hockey and acting.
Last week, for one sublime afternoon at the Carolina Ice Palace, she was able to combine her two loves while shooting a few scenes for an upcoming episode of the television show "Army Wives."
Pippy, 16, is in her second season as Emmalin Holden — the sometimes rebellious daughter of Brigadier Gen. Michael Holden (Brian McNamara) and Claudia Joy Holden (Kim Delaney) — on the Lifetime Network series. When she's not in front of the camera, Pippy is crisscrossing the country playing goalie for Team Pittsburgh, an elite all-girls travel team.
"I don't know what I love more, acting or hockey." she said. "It's a constant struggle for me. I really don't want to have to pick one over the other. Right now, I'm trying to balance the two."
Her interest in hockey began before she was old enough to attend school.
"I made up this statistic, but I believe it. I think 70 to 80 percent of girls that play hockey do it because their brothers played," Pippy said. "I would follow my brother around from rink to rink and I really started to love the game. One day I asked my mother if I could play. I think I was five, and she enrolled me in a learn-to-play class and I went from there."
Not long after taking up hockey, she discovered her other obsession — acting. Her first paying gig was a commercial for Pearle Vision Eye Centers when she was 9. Two years later, she landed her first role on a television show with an appearance on the USA Network series "Monk." She's had a guest-starring role on Disney's "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody" and in the movie "The Haunting Hour: Don't Think About It." She was the runner-up to Miley Cyrus for Disney's smash hit Hannah Montana.
"Army Wives" is Pippy's first extended stint on a television series. She appeared on 16 episodes in the show's second season last year and is scheduled to be in as many this year.
Pippy's mother, Kathy, said that while her daughter's schedule can be demanding, she has never thought of asking her to give up hockey.
"She's done it so long and she loves it so much that it's never entered my mind," Kathy said. "Some people worry she might get injured, but she's played for so long I've never given it a second thought."
One of the show's writers suggested having Pippy's character play hockey. She jumped at the opportunity. The episode is scheduled to air in September.
"I never ever thought I'd be able to play hockey as an actor," Pippy said. "I guess somewhere down the road I was like, 'yeah, maybe I'll do a hockey movie' but you don't actually think you'll get the chance. It's amazing that the writers are giving me this opportunity to add this to the role."
What made the afternoon even more memorable was that Pippy was able to share her experience with many of her teammates from Team Pittsburgh.
"It was awesome to have all my friends down here with me doing the two things I love the most in life," she said. "I'm speechless. I'll always remember this day and to have it on film is something I'll always be able to look back on. I get to show them what I do. I think they thought it would be a little more glamorous than it really is."
Pippy hopes to continue her acting and hockey career in college.
"I definitely want to play hockey in college," she said. "It's something that I've always wanted to do. Hockey is something that I love so much and it's not something I'm always going to be able to do at a competitive level, so I want to play for as long as I can."