By Ruben Medina, NIHL Girls Division Director
There are 34 all-girls teams playing in Northern Illinois Hockey League’s Girls Divisions this 2017-2018 season. They represent the largest concentration of Girls Hockey in the state, and we’re very grateful that our member clubs work so hard to build interest in this great sport and to create opportunities for girls to keep developing the hockey skills that they can take forward with them as they go on to play in high school and college.
What are these NIHL Girls teams playing for in these last few days of the Regular Season? Well for some teams the Presidents Cup award for the best Regular Season record in the division is still a possibility.
With a single week left in the Regular Season, we have a three-team battle for the Presidents Cup in NIHL Girls 10U. In Girls 12U one team is looking like the Presidents Cup favorite, but it is not locked up yet. The same is true in Girls 14U with three teams all still with a chance to tie on points. And, in Girls 16U/19U two teams are still fighting for the division crown. That’s fun when results matter more and more as the season’s end gets closer and closer.
For even more teams, a qualifying spot in the NIHL Blackhawks Tournament is a real possibility. There are no free passes to the tournament. In each division there will be teams who did not pick up the points they needed to qualify. There are no longer any undefeated teams in any of the four Girls divisions. The flipside is also true, even the teams currently at the bottom of the four divisions’ Standings have one or more wins. This is exactly what we like to see… meaningful games from the beginning to the end of the season.
In a few more days we will all know which are the teams that have qualified for the NIHL Blackhawks Tournament. If you are a female player, or the parents of a female player, who doesn’t yet play on a Girls team we suggest you check the NIHL Girls’ Divisions bracket boards and see if you can catch a tournament game. We think you will enjoy the level of play and competitive desire exhibited by the young ladies on these teams. Who knows, next season maybe we’ll see you jumping on the ice to take your shift in one of these NIHL Girls Division tournament games.