Seven Illinois Associations Join in Celebrating the 2015 IIHF World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend

Girls’ Hockey had an international spotlight this past weekend as over 30 countries celebrated the 2015 IIHF World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. The weekend serves as an excellent opportunity to celebrate female participation in the sport while growing the game and providing more opportunities for girls to play ice hockey. Seven Illinois associations hosted girls’ events that ranged from special girls-only league games to Try Hockey For Free opportunities as well as a female-only showcase weekend. According to the IIHF women’s ice hockey is one of the fastest growing sports in the world thanks to events like this one and similar programs that are being run in many countries.

To relive all of the excitement, check out the photos below or visit USA Hockey and IIHF Hockey for details on events around the globe.


Admirals Hockey Club

Girls-Only League Games

Susan Gawley 

12087720_746499045456744_8862806664256366446_o“The Admirals Hockey Club was proud to host two league Girls’ games as part of the 2015 IIHF World Girls Ice Hockey Weekend. On Saturday, October 10, the Girls 12U Admirals #2 team hosted the Sabres #1 team in a NIHL 12U Girls Gold league game.

On Sunday, October 11, the Girls 19U Admirals #1 team hosted the Hawks #1 team in a NIHL 19U Girls Gold league game. Over the course of the weekend, the IIHF hosted its inaugural Girls Global Game, a worldwide initiative with 29 different countries hosting successive one-hour games in a 24-hour span. In conjunction with the Girls Global Game, USA Hockey highlighted one-hour games at varying age levels across the U.S. The Girls 19U game was selected as one of the highlighted games.

The players were also excited to have a female referee officiating the game. Snacks and beverages were enjoyed by both teams both before and after the game.” – Susan Gawley


St. Jude Knights

Jackie Kooistra-Wedster

Girls Program Director

12108814_746846985421950_3826727345409228577_n“I believe the ‘girls in hockey days’ are not only important to grow the sport of girls’ hockey, but also because it shows the girls just how strong they can be. A lot of girl athletes don’t even give hockey a try not only because of the athlete themselves, but the parents think hockey is a sport for boys. Being able to put these events on for athletes in my community and showing families that hockey is for EVERYONE is my ultimate goal. Having the backing of such a great organization as St Jude and supportive governing bodies such as AHAI and USA Hockey is very important. It is a privilege to continue to grow the sport – which is our ultimate goal.

We asked some our athletes why they play; here were some of their responses:

“My why is because they told me I couldn’t. My why is for my family, my friends and my teammates. My why is because I want to.”

“I play hockey because I can! I love it, it’s fun, and I have great memories.”

“It’s fast. It’s fun. And I love scoring goals with my teammates.”

“If boys can do it, I can do it too. And better.”

We are looking forward to our next “Girls Only: Give Hockey A Try” event on Sunday, October 18 from 2:40pm to 3:50pm. It’s open to all girls 14 & under. After the skate we encourage everyone to stay and watch our Knights Girls A1 U12 team play at 4:00pm. Southwest Ice Arena will even provide free hot dogs and sides from 3:30pm to 5:30pm!


Sabre Girls Hockey

All-Girls High Performance College Showcase

Gretchen Cockey, Sabre Girls Hockey Director 

12074586_746480935458555_7484721953356602151_nThe Sabre Girls Hockey Association played host to 240 girls during their High Performance College (HPC) Showcase at Rocket Ice Arena in Bolingbrook. Twelve teams representing 9 states and two age levels, 16U and 19U, played four games each Friday through Sunday. Nine of the 12 HPC Showcase teams were part of USA Hockey’s Highlighted games – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, California Wave, Columbus Blue Jackets, Livonia Knights, Anaheim Lady Ducks, Mid-State Mustangs, Arizona Lady Coyotes, Sabre Girls and Montana Big Sky Wildcats.

Four colleges with women’s ACHA programs and six colleges with NCAA DIII programs were in attendance throughout weekend. On Saturday morning HPC Showcase teams attended a College Seminar where the girls were educated on the opportunities available to them after high school as well as participated in an open-panel question and answer session with the ACHA and NCAA college coaches in attendance.

In addition to Showcase games and the College Seminar, Erin Blair, 2014 Sochi Olympic Referee, conducted an officiating development camp during our Showcase.

The weekend was such a success that we plan on hosting another HPC Showcase to coincide with the 2016 IIHF World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. 


Franklin Park Ice Arena

Girls Try Hockey For Free Event

Brit Volini, Franklin Park Ice Arena Assistant Manager

Carla Deak, Programs & Marketing Manager. Franklin Park Ice Arena

12107245_746528702120445_8542958691395113930_nFranklin Park Ice Arena hosted a Girls-Only Try Hockey For Free Event on Saturday, October 10. Current Pink Panther players, alumni, coaches and parents were on hand to help with the event and answer any questions. We had 20 girls come out to our event who were trying hockey for the first time. In addition, several members of our two Pink Panthers Girls hockey teams had the opportunity to skate with two-time Olympic medalist Caitlin Cahow! Franklin Park will also continue our All-Girls Clinic Series which run once a month beginning October 17 and run through March 19.

“I love these kinds of events. The girls are always so excited, willing, and motivated. We had a wide range of ability and ages at our event this year. It was great to see so many current players encourage their school friends to come and try hockey; we even had a few figure skaters consider making the move to hockey. All I can hope for is that girls give it a try and have fun. I don’t expect it to stick for everybody or even right away. It’s the initial exposure that counts.” – Brit Volini, Franklin Park Ice Arena Assistant Manager


Decatur Youth Hockey Association

Girls Try Hockey For Free Event

Jason Habrock, DYHA President 

12111909_746477985458850_4838558948912482439_nThe Decatur Youth Hockey Association held our first ever Girls Try Hockey For Free Event on Saturday, October 10 at 8am at the Decatur Civic Center. Our girls’ house team was on hand to ensure that those new to hockey had a great time.



Yellow Jackets Girls Hockey

Girls Try Hockey For Free Event

The Yellow Jackets hosted a Girls Try Hockey For Free Event on Saturday, October 10 at 9am at the Crystal Ice House.


Falcons Girls Bantam Gold Team

Girls-Only League Games

The Falcons Girls Bantam Gold Team played in 2 Girls-Only League games during World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. They played the Bruins #2 team on Saturday at Centennial Ice Arena and the Panthers #1 on Sunday at Lake Forest College.


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