As part of the recent IIHF World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend, several clubs participated by hosting Try Hockey For Free events including the St. Jude Knights and Franklin Park Panthers. The essence of the American Development Model at its purest form is development and growth. Both these clubs exemplified that this past weekend.
St. Jude Knights Girls Director Jackie Kooistra-Wedster stated, “I believe the girls Try Hockey events 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.”
Brit Volini, Franklin Park Ice Arena Assistant Manager, hosted 20 girls new to hockey. Also attending the event were players from her Pink Panthers girls’ team as well as Olympian Caitlin Cahow. Britt put it this way, “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.”
Whether it is a girls’ only event or a youth event, Try Hockey For Free works! The kids have fun, and ultimately it is these grass roots programs that help promote and grow our great game.