On Friday, February 17th, Minnesota District 1 Hockey will complete its second season of girls hockey nights in Saint Paul, MN. The cooperative program between the District 1 youth hockey associations has provided a consistent time and night for girls in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul areas to try hockey and develop their skills in a fun and friendly environment.
Edgcumbe Hockey Association (EHA), which is located in Saint Paul, has served as the host of the District 1 girls hockey night for the past two seasons. Every Friday night, from November through February, one hour of ice time is dedicated for a girls only skating session. Girls from throughout the Saint Paul and Minneapolis areas are encouraged to attend and bring their friends to skate at no cost.
Coaches from EHA group the players by age and ability before providing basic skill instruction and a variety of fun games. Members of the local St. Paul Blades team, which serves as the co-op girls hockey program for high school in St. Paul, assist with on-ice instruction and act as mentors for the younger girls.
“This program is geared to recruiting and retaining girls for what we think is the coolest and fastest sport in the world,” said EHA and District 1 President, Dan Muccio. “We would ultimately like to see every one of our high school programs field a women’s team, but we need to start growing the number of girl participants at the younger age levels. Our goal is to get the girls started here and then encourage them to play in their respective local hockey association so we can build 8U, 12U, and 15U teams.”
The program started off somewhat slower than anticipated in the first year, but as news began to spread, attendance picked up as the year went on. This season has been a success from the start as the program has routinely drawn 30 or more girls to participate on a weekly basis.
“It’s definitely been a success for us,” said Muccio. “We’ve been getting great feedback from parents on how much fun the girls are having, and our numbers are up this year at Edgcumbe. We’re at a point where we can really push to have an 8 & Under team made of all girls for the first time next year because we finally have the numbers.”
“Our goal is to do the same program again next year. We’re going to keep it going as long as we can.”