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February 13, 2024

Cami ’24 and Chelsea ’26 Bell to play at U19 USA Hockey Nationals.


To watch Cami and Chelsea Bell on the ice together is to witness the advantage that comes with competing in a team sport alongside your sibling. A captain on the 2023-24 girls varsity ice hockey squad, Cami is a forward, a fast-skating, hard-shooting lefty who leads the team in goals and points and notched her 100th career point on Feb. 2. Chelsea is a defender, also a lefty, a playmaker who is more than equal to the task of matching up against some of the top forwards in the league. When the Bell sisters’ shifts overlap, there’s an unconsciousness to the way the duo works together, Chelsea feeding the puck to Cami for yet another swift flight toward the opposing goal, Cami turning to Chelsea as the puck heads back across the SPS blue line, sure in the knowledge that her sister has things under control.

“We know each other very well on the ice,” Cami says. “We practice together all through summer, and there’s just this way of being like, ‘hey, I know you’ve got this’ or ‘oh, I need to make something happen over here.’ We just know how to play off each other.”

And yet St. Paul’s School is the first place where the sisters have played together on the same hockey team. Growing up in Barre, Vermont, the two girls and their younger brother, Clayton, were all on skates before they were old enough for school, and later, their father built a rink in their backyard — complete with a freestanding “locker room” that was heated by a woodstove. “He used to love to get us out on the ice at like six in the morning, coaching us, running through drills,” recalls Chelsea. “It was so fun — a family bonding activity for us.”

Cami spent her freshman year at Barre’s Spaulding High School, where her hockey achievements included being named a team captain and making Vermont’s First-Team All State, and then transferred to SPS as a repeat Third Former in the fall of 2021 … the same year Chelsea started at Spaulding High. “At first, I wasn’t really thinking about prep school,” says Chelsea of her decision to follow in her sister’s skates as a repeat Third Former in 2022, “but seeing Cami here her first year and seeing the level of play, I really wanted to go.”

Cami Bell during game against Lawrence Academy

“We know each other very well on the ice. We practice together all through summer, and there’s just this way of being like, ‘hey, I know you’ve got this’ or ‘oh, I need to make something happen over here.’ We just know how to play off each other.”

— Cami Bell ’24

The sisters say that the opportunities SPS has given them to play together have been special, including the flexibility to spend their Sundays off campus, skating as teammates on the Boston Junior Eagles U19 Tier 1 team. Both girls have been playing with the Wellesley, Massachusetts-based hockey club for the past several years; Cami with the U19 team and Chelsea with the U16s (the Bells play in Massachusetts because there is only one club team in Vermont). When she turned 17, Chelsea joined her sister on the U19 squad; last November, it was a special moment to earn the Massachusetts Hockey U19 Tier 1 Championship as teammates and learn they’d head to Florida together in 2024 to compete at the USA Hockey Nationals. The April tournament will be Cami’s second trip to nationals; she skated on the Boston Junior Eagles team that played at Nationals in Dallas last year.

“Club hockey is great because it’s all the best players from across the state, but it’s harder in some ways because you only have that one day a week together, and we’re all coming from different schools and different teams,” explains Cami, noting that one of the things that makes it fun is that many of her Junior Eagles teammates are girls from other New England prep schools she skates against when she’s playing for SPS. “It’s fun to mix it up and play with different people.”

With Cami set to graduate from SPS in June and headed to Yale in the fall to continue her academic and hockey career, playing with different people is something the duo will soon resume. Like her older sister, Chelsea plans to skate in college, though the idea of competing against one another is not something either one of them has thought about too much just yet. In fact, the sisters, who also play field hockey together at SPS, say the closest they’ve come to being competitive with each other in Millville has been not on the Hockey Center ice or the Bogle-Lechner turf but rather in the Fine Arts Building.

“We took a sculpture class together last year,” explains Chelsea, “which was so fun, and one of the things that I think is really cool about SPS — the way you can take classes with people in different grades. One of our projects was to make an animal. There were a couple different ones that you could choose from, so I made a pig and Cami made a monkey.”

Like a puck passed from one sister to the other, Cami picks up the story, explaining that their mother has the two sculptures at home now, displayed on either side of the family TV. “Chelsea still thinks hers is better,” Cami says, “but …” She lets the sentence go unfinished, grinning as she looks to her sister for Chelsea’s reaction, and then they burst into simultaneous laughs.

See Cami, Chelsea and their SPS girls varsity hockey teammates in action: