Girls Stick With It aims to increase numbers for girls hockey
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By and large, hockey is generally seen as primarily (and sometimes solely) as a boys sport.
There is no women’s league that generates the level of coverage that the NHL does, nor is there as much college hockey coverage as there is for men.
But one Denver program is doing its best to try change the way of thinking when it comes to girls hitting the ice and playing some puck.
The new Girls Stick With It program aims to help girls who might be interested in playing hockey to get on the ice and try the game out without the burden of a heavy up-front cost that is normally associated with the sport.
“We’re trying to create a program where girls have more ice touches for free,” CAHA VP of girls/women’s hockey Jordan Slavin said. “It’s really to get them to fall in love with the game and give them more opportunities.”
Slavin knows plenty about opportunities, or lack thereof. Growing up, there wasn’t the number of girls programs that are available today. She played hockey with the Colorado Thunderbirds, a boys AAA organization, before joining the upstart Colorado Select girls organization.
From there, she played Division I college hockey at the University of North Dakota as well as with the USA Under-18 Team. She developed a passion for the game at a young age and now looks to help girls ranging from 5-15 years old to get involved as well.
“The Girls Stick With It is aimed to help grow girls hockey for sure,” Slavin said. “It’s more of a way to get more girls involved and that’s why we’re exclusively doing it for girls. The boys would like this opportunity, too, but we have around 12 boys organizations on the Front Range where these kids can go and play.”
The event will be held over six weekends, with three coming before Christmas and three coming after. The confirmed pre-holiday dates are Nov. 21, 28 and Dec. 19, with each session starting at 3:30 p.m. Each session will be held at the Denver Coliseum.
“We wanted it to be at a central location for all the girls to come to,” Slavin said. “We could’ve done it at any of the rinks, but we really wanted it to be central for all the girls to come.”
Slavin said she expects to see girls make their way from Pueblo and Greeley and is also hoping to get some participants from the mountain towns, but understands the struggles that may come with that.
“I think it would be hard for the mountain girls to come down, but if they could, that would be awesome,” she said. “I know that we had a couple of people from Gunnison at a One Goal event and they said they would be for sure be down on those Saturdays to try it out.”
But the most important part of any program such as Girls Stick With It is to make sure that those who are interested stay involved.
Slavin thinks that the majority of the girls who are coming to try it out are already interested in hockey so it wouldn’t be surprise to see a high percentage stick with the game.
“I would be happy if 75 percent of them stayed with it,” Slavin said. “The girls that will continue to try it are the ones that want to play, but maybe a lot of the parents can’t afford it yet or they don’t know how to get the gear. There’s a lot of uneducated parents out there, so this is our way of getting them in and educating them on the process.”
— Dan Mohrmann