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Girls U12 league prepares for faceoff

Lakes Area Hockey reaches out to Estherville, area girls with free ‘Try It’ night Oct. 9

September 18, 2016
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Lakes Area Hockey League has completed the Boji Bay Ice Arena in Spirit Lake, and now is offering a free Try It night for girls interested in ice hockey Oct. 9.

Mitch Brandt said, "Nationally, girls' participation has doubled in the last five years and is approaching 20 percent. For whatever reason, the Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas programs are running only at about 10 percent."

Brandt said he believes forming this team and building a high school team "will help move the needle. I know there are more girls who will play if they know it is available to them."

Brandt acknowledged hockey can be an expensive sport. "Through the efforts of the Lakes Area Hockey Association, Kiwanis, and the HyVee stores in Spencer, Spirit Lake and Estherville, we raised $3,000 to buy starter gear for first-year entry kids."

Girls in third through sixth grade are eligible for the new U12 girls' team, according to girls U12 head coach Tracy Oleson.

A former player for the University of Minnesota, Oleson said her daughter wanted to play on an all-girls' team after she moved up to the peewee level. Because Lakes Area Hockey Association didn't have a girls' team, her only choice was to play on a Minnesota team. "This decision did not come easy as she loved her home ice arena and her hockey family," Oleson said.

"As of right now, there is good interest, and we are close to meeting our goal of ten players," Oleson said.

The Girls Try It Hockey Free event is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 9 from 1-3 p.m. at the Boji Bay Ice Arena. The Arena will open at noon. Players are encouraged to arrive early to dress and ask questions. If that doesn't work with the family's schedule, players are asked to come when they can any time before 3 p.m. Players should wear snow pants, a long sleeved shirt, and winter gloves for the ice. Other equipment will be provided. The cost is free.

"This will be a fun, girls-only introduction to hockey," Oleson said.

Brandt said, "A goal of Lakes Area Hockey Association is to make the sport affordable for any youth who wish to participate."

Scholarships are available to defray the cost.



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