For the first time, Glen Ellyn-based hockey program Admirals Hockey Club is fielding full girls’ teams in both 14-and-under and 12-and-under divisions, giving them the size to participate in Friday’s World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend by hosting a four-on-four showcase tournament at Center Ice of DuPage, USA Hockey reports.
According to the paper, although girls’ hockey lags far behind other sports in popularity in Illinois—hockey is not an IHSA sport—the Admirals’ growing enrollment has given them the size to host their first showcase; the team practices with boys’ teams and puts in just as many training hours using the “ADM model” of hockey practice.
“I think it’s very exciting that we get to be a part of this showcase to remember girls’ hockey because not a lot of girls started off playing hockey,” player Ava Gawley told the site. “And now we have a much bigger organization. This is the first Admirals girls’ 14U team and 12U team. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
“They’re being challenged, they’re being pushed,” Ava’s mom and Admirals United coordinater Susan Gawley added. “They get the speed of the game from the boys. I like to say, they train with the boys and they play with the girls… They never stop. They feel like they’re being paid attention to. They get to be creative, they get to be challenged and they get to do everything that embodies what hockey is.”