On September 25th, the Houston Girls Hockey Association (HTX Storm) registered their 100th Houston area player to the all-girls program. Entering their second year, the HTX Storm is offering House Hockey teams at the 8U, 10U, 12U, and 14U levels, with select (try-out based) tournament teams at 10U, 12U, and 14U ages as well. Last year, the program offered 10U and 12U teams, with tournament teams at 10U, 12U.
Growth in girls hockey is not unique to Houston. The number of girls playing hockey has grown 34% nationwide since 2011 according to USA Hockey. But that is not just in cold weather states. In fact, USA Hockey reports that in the “non-traditional” hockey states of Texas, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, girls’ participation has nearly doubled, up 71.3%, since 2011. This makes girls hockey the fastest growing youth sport in the US.
“I love ice hockey for my daughter”, said Patrick Ryan, father of a 16-year-old player “…it is a great game of speed, balance, and hand-eye coordination in an environment where teamwork is critically important. Great life lessons to learn. Not to mention attending games in a 50-degree ice rink is a wonderful break from the Houston heat for us parents.”
The HTX Storm offers girls several opportunities that are not usually available to girls playing on boys’ hockey teams – namely, leadership opportunities, a true locker room culture of support and camaraderie, and female coaches as role models. Select Team Head Coach Sarah Donovan says “What the Storm is building is so special for our community since it gives girls a place to really be themselves, to learn to play with confidence, and really enjoy one of the greatest sports in the world. Hockey has the ability to change lives, especially for young female players, and that’s what this program is doing!”
The HTX Storm continues to grow, and expects to offer a high school aged team next year to add to the 2022-23 team lineup. However, the HTX Storm knows growth really starts at the youngest ages. So, on October 15, the Program is offering a “Try Hockey for Free” event at Ice Skate Memorial City at 11:00 am. This event will allow Houston area girls age 6 to 16 an opportunity to try the sport in a low-pressure environment. The organization will follow up this event with their inaugural “Rookies” program for new girl players.
Advanced registration for the Try Hockey Free event is strongly recommended, and can be done through the program’s website: www.htxstorm.com. Space will be limited. More information about Try Hockey Free and all other programs can be found on the website including ways to support the kids through monetary donations, adult volunteer opportunities, and other contact information.