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June 17, 2024
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Girls at Silver Stick tournament in Sarnia, Ont. ‘inspired’ by PWHL

Fifty-nine girls’ teams playing for Silver Stick supremacy.

“This is one of my first time’s being here, so I really want to win this,” says Ellie Ryan, a 12U player for Livonia, who crossed the border from Michigan to play in the tournament.

Nearly 1,000 girls ranging from 11U to 18U were all in Sarnia, Ont. this weekend.

The Arapahoe Warriors came all the way from Denver, Colorado where the girl’s game is still in its growing phase.

“Our organization had 4-5 girls a few years ago, now we have 14-15 at the pee wee level,” says Terry Bevan, a coach with the Warriors.

“The younger teams have full teams with 15-20 girls and they are playing just girls hockey. There is also multiple teams in the mountains, and with the Avs (Colorado Avalanche) and DU (Denver University) you can feel it build its great.”

The women’s game is only going to trend upwards with the creation of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL).

“Typically it was just NHL and not much girls’ hockey, but glad they are getting into that,” says Mackenzie Pomerantz, a 12U player from Livonia.

Lara Kelly sent her North Halton team to the U18 finals with a double-overtime game winner, to break a scoreless tie.

She is thrilled that the PWHL is giving something for female hockey players to strive toward.

“It’s giving young girls the hope of having a career in women’s hockey,” says Kelly.

“Especially this year with the big change, it’s something big for women because they worked so hard to get here.”

Coach Jenna Abeyta speaks to her Arapahoe Warriors team from Denver, Colorado during an intermission break at the Silver Stick Tournament in Sarnia, Ont. (Source: Brent Lale/CTV London)Warriors coach Jenna Abeyta was a University teammate of some current PWHL players.

“Our dream growing up was to make the NHL as a girl, but now they have a PWHL,” says Abeyta, who left Colorado to play University in Massachusetts.

“There is definitely some girls on our team that have high hopes, and having the PWHL they get to see themselves play at that level.”

And for the Livonia team, they’d love to see Detroit become a PWHL expansion franchise.

“I’d love to be able to go watch a game,” says Pomerantz. 

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