The Houston Girls Hockey Association (HGHA) announces its inaugural “Launch Weekend” events on July 10 and 11 at local ice rinks. The July 10 event will be held at the Sugar Land Ice and Sports Center starting at 4 PM, and the July 11 event will be held at the Aerodrome in the Willowbrook area starting at 9 AM. Both events will feature on-ice activities for Houston area girls interested in the sport, off-ice programs, t-shirt sales, fundraisers, and Fall Season registration. The HGHA welcomes girls ages 7 to 18 from Houston, College Station, Austin, San Antonio, and other surrounding areas with skating experience to participate; registration is required (www.htxstorm.com/signup).
Houston had an all-girls ice hockey program from 2005-2015, called the “Herricanes”, which was based at the Sugar Land rink. The HGHA was formed this May to unify all five of the city’s ice rinks and hockey programs to continue what the Herricanes started. The HGHA is creating six new teams under the name “HTX STORM” to honor the prior organization. This new format is able to build teams from the nearly 100 girls in Houston that play the sport and will provide the foundation to expand opportunities for girls across our community.
Historically, girls have represented 10-20% of hockey players in Houston at the 8U, 10U, and 12U age groups. While co-ed format works at these early ages, the sport begins to integrate full-contact checking at age 13, and consequently, girls’ participation begins to wane in the junior high and high-school ages especially. The governing body of youth hockey in the United States, USA Hockey, recommends girls begin to integrate into all-girls formats at age 11 if possible – which was not possible in Houston prior to the HTX STORM.
“Giving girls an opportunity to really develop in the sport they love is the mission of the STORM. Bridging the age gap between youth and college hockey was one of the primary motivators for us, but giving all girls in the city the opportunity to play in a team setting that was established for them is both important and gratifying” said HGHA President Kevin Brown.
“Houston doesn’t know the level of hockey talent that we see in these young girls. Many go on to play Division I and other intercollegiate hockey levels – and many more could do so if they had the right opportunities for development. Yet many of these girls drop out as they hit the age of 13 or 14 – as the game changes and their opportunities dwindle. It’s important at any level for girls to be able to continue to play the sport they love. We have to pave their path to success – and the Storm will do just that.” said HGHA Vice President Amy Good.
More information about this program can be found on the organization’s website, www.htxstorm.com, including ways to support through monetary donations, volunteer opportunities, and contact information.