When she was just 2 years old, Jamie Goldsmith received a Christmas gift that would become part of her life ever since that morning she bolted to the Christmas tree.

The gift? A pair of roller blades.

Goldsmith quickly added ice skates to the mix. She started skating constantly and it soon became her life.

"She worked very hard and sacrificed a more 'normal' life, leaving behind family and friends," her father, Tony Goldsmith, said. "She gives hockey her all. We recognized that she loved the game and listened to her coaches and others who told us she was special at the game."

All were right, and on Nov. 13, Goldsmith signed a national letter of intent to play hockey at St. Lawrence University, in Canton, N.Y., a small upstate town near the Canadian border. She will be joining a program that went 28-10-1 last season and was the runner-up in Division I finals in 2000-2001. St. Lawrence - which plays in the Eastern College Athletic Conference - is one of a few Division III schools that offer a D-I ice-hockey program.

Jamie's career started in Media but she moved to Lake Placid, N.Y., when she was 13 and in eighth grade to attend National Sports Academy, a prep school for winter-sports athletes. Currently the captain of the girls' hockey squad at NSA, the senior forward led the team in scoring as a freshman and a junior.

Jamie said the reason she left for upstate New York was because she was competing against boys who were getting much bigger. She added that she wasn't going to be recruited from a boys' team and the National Sports Academy offered her a better opportunity in hockey. NSA is a small school with approximately 80 students.

"I have the privilege of waking up, playing hockey every day, going to school, and having my friends all in the same place," she said. "When I take the time to really think about it, I really appreciate it."

For Jamie - who turns 18 Thursday - there's much more to appreciate than her accomplishments on the ice.

Tony Goldsmith said his daughter is the student-body president at NSA and has been an honor-roll student the past 4 years.

"We [Tony and wife, Leslie] are very proud of her for her hard work, sacrifice and dedication," he said. "She deserves it."

Jamie also wants her parents to know that she has appreciated their help over her career.

"It means a lot to me, but mostly for my parents," she said. "The full scholarship is just as much theirs as it is mine. They were always very supportive with all of my decisions. If I wanted a break, they let me take a break. If I wanted to get better, they did whatever they could to help me get better."

Playing with boys at an early age also helped improve her game. Jamie played some hockey with girls, but most of her childhood was spent playing on the same ice as the boys. She was captain of the Penncrest Middle School boys' team and assistant captain of the local AA boys' team in 2003-04.

"I was never intimidated by the guys," she said. "They treated me like one of them. I never really struggled with sexism on my own team. Sometimes other teams' parents, coaches and players, even refs sometimes, gave me trouble, but I was never fazed by it. If anything, I was fueled by it."

Ultimately, all Jamie has on her mind is her future at St. Lawrence and her dream of playing for a national team.

"Every girl who plays, their dream is to play for a national team at some point," she said. "I am just sort of realizing that may never happen and it's hard, but I am still striving for it, I still have some hope and I will always work toward it until I'm done." *