Glacier Girls hopes to build girls hockey presence

The Homer Hockey Association’s new Glacier Girls program is teaching girls hockey with the hope of building a strong youth girls hockey program in Homer. Currently, girls who wish to play hockey travel north to do so, said coach Chris Owen.

“When the rink first opened they had a team so hopefully we can get it back up and running again,” Owen said.

The program is led by Owen, Joanna Riley, Steve Nevak and Michelle Hatton. All girls under the age of 18 with any, or even no, experience are welcome to sign up. The goal of the program is to teach girls hockey skills, eventually morphing into team practices, to build a team of at least 11 girls.

“There was a girls team I coached for the peninsula last year that was Kenai, Homer, and Soldotna and we took those girls to state and got third place,” Owen said. “It’s a big thing for these girls so hopefully we can go locally. … Hopefully we can draw those girls to play with us. Girls hockey is getting more and more popular so figured we’d get it started now.”

While girls are able to play on the hockey teams with boys, once they reach the teen years an all-girls team gives them a choice.

“Once they reach the under-14 team, that’s when checking is allowed and it gets pretty physical,” Owen said. “At that age, there’s a big difference. A lot of the boys are huge, so it gets pretty intimidating for the girls. We start to see a lot of girls drop the program and they don’t have a place to go. So we’re starting this program and they can be at the rink and it’s not so physical, they don’t get hurt as much.”

Anna Frost can be reached at anna.frost@homernews.com.

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