On January 12, 2013, White Bear Lake Area Hockey Association hosted its first annual Girls’ Hockey Day. There were seven girls’ hockey games played throughout the day starting with the U10 team and ending the night with a girls’ varsity tilt versus Cretin-Derham Hall. Over the course of the day, four youth hockey associations, two high school programs and almost 200 girls participated in this celebration of girls’ hockey.
The celebration is rightfully deserved. Girls’ hockey has come a long way from where it started. Over the past 10 years, the number of girls’ hockey players in Minnesota has grown by 50 percent. Looking back even further, there were less than 1,000 registered girls’ hockey players in Minnesota 20 years ago. That number is now well over 12,000.
It isn’t just the number of players that has improved either. There has also been significant growth in the development of high-quality women’s players. That is particularly evident in the data released by American Hockey Coaches Association on the status of college hockey. This season, 131 of the 826 players in NCAA D1 Women’s College Hockey have roots in Minnesota (Massachusetts has second most from a US state with 68).
If you don’t trust statistics, make a point to watch the Gopher women. The defending national champions are on an NCAA record 34-game winning streak and are a fantastic example of the talent level in women’s hockey today.
As great as these accomplishments are, there is still work to do as girls’ participation still lags considerably behind the boys. Minnesota Hockey recommends highlighting these stories to further promote girls’ hockey and generate new players.
Start planning your association’s recruiting and retention activities for the upcoming year.