Minnesota Hockey Journal

December 2014

Issue link: http://read.uberflip.com/i/417390

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Page 21 of 23

BY JOHN KING FINAL BUZZER A CAll to Arms for Girls ' HoCkey PlAyers I f you're reading this, you are a female hockey player. You are strong. You are confident. You are important, and you are the future. As a proud parent and coach, I can honestly say there is nothing quite like women's hockey. I remember a few years back when my daughter was probably 10. I had recently read something about how important it was for dads to stay connected to their daughters and to give them compli- ments from time to time. We were walking in the backyard on a sunny afternoon and I think I forced something totally awkward like, "Honey — you are a beautiful young girl and have very pretty hair." I'll never forget the look of total disgust on my daughter's face when she matter-of- factly replied, "Dad — if you're going to com- pliment me, I'd prefer you stick to academics or athletics." You see, my daughter was already a hockey player, just like you. And girls who play hockey put the "self " in self-confidence by forming strong relationships and learn- ing invaluable life skills. Girl hockey players are Katniss Everdeen heroes-in-the-making; they've just swapped the bow for blades. Why are you special? Because you play a game that is beautiful, fast and physical. You've learned uncommon lessons. You're comfortable protecting your goalie, cranking explicit hip-hop in the locker room (sorry parents) and sacrific- ing yourself to block a shot for the greater good. Your curriculum has been more slap shot and slash than sugar and spice. You are hockey players in every sense of the word, who also just happen to be girls. You've seen the progress. You've experi- enced the change. Here in Minnesota, the level of talent and caliber of women's hockey is off the charts. That's why Minnesota regu- larly produces D-I and D-III studs, as well as Olympians. But while women represent a whopping 23 percent of the over 50,000 hockey play- ers enrolled through USA Hockey here in Minnesota, only a paltry 4 percent (388 total in 2013-14) of our registered coaches are women! Many an association has had high hopes to attract female non-parent coaches for their youth and high school teams. It's an extremely tough brief to fill. This needs to change, and we need your help to do it. Make no mistake — it won't be easy. You'll be busy starting your careers, maybe even starting a family. But here's the deal: We need you. As USA Hockey National Coach-in-Chief Mike MacMillan said, "It's time for the females who play this great game to step up. You see a handful of female college and high school coaches out there, but we need more. If they don't step up, who are the young girls going to look up to? Who will be their female mentors?" It's no longer acceptable to be filling all of these youth and high school coaching posi- tions with a bunch of overzealous dads. Sure, we'd be happy to buy some water bottles and a whistle, but it's your time now. Because the next great leap in women's hockey will only happen when the present generation of female hockey players steps behind the bench to lead the next. And here's a little secret: You're going to love it. Heck, you might even love it more than playing. Just remember to compliment the girls on their hair from time to time. Their hockey hair, that is. 22 MINNESOTAHOCKEYJOURNAL.COM // DECEMBER.2014 TEAR THIS OUT AND GIVE IT TO YOUR DAUGHTERS. Women represent 23 percent of the more than 50,000 USA Hockey players in Minnesota, but only 4 percent of our coaches.

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