U-19 girls hockey grows in popularity
January 12, 2007
Steamboat Springs — Really brutal.
That’s how Bailey Moore described the state of the under-19 girls hockey team three years ago.
With only eight players – and sometimes having only six for games – Bailey said the practices and games were exhausting.
“Now it’s a lot less work,” Bailey said. “Then it was super tiring. Sometimes we’d only have one person sitting on the bench.”
Bailey is now one of 18 members on the team coached by her father Steve. While Steve couldn’t recall the teams’ win-loss record, he said it’s not about that. Steve said to see where the program once was compared to now, makes the work worthwhile.
After having success in its early years, the team nearly disbanded four years ago because of a lack of interest. Then the team had the season with only eight players. Last year, the team had nine but didn’t have a goalie.
But Steve Moore has always been a coach and always loved the game of hockey. With his daughter still wanting to play, Moore said the decision was easy.
“They needed someone to help out, so I did it,” he said. “It’s all about seeing the girls being supportive of each other – the older girls mentoring the younger girls.”
This year, the team is full of players – including a goalie. Players who haven’t played in a year are playing. Players that don’t have teams to play on at home commute to Steamboat for the Monday and Wednesday night practices.
“I love the game,” Steve Moore said. “I hope this is something these girls will continue to do and continue to play.”
For some of the girls, Steamboat provided a place where they could play competitive hockey.
Emily Lich, 16, is from Vail where they have an under-14 team but nothing for girls her age. Instead of giving the game up, Lich leaves Vail at 4 p.m., practices with the Steamboat team and arrives home at 11 p.m.
“I do it because I love it,” she said. “It’s the only true sport I do.”
More than half the season is done, but Steve said Steamboat has lots of home games left, including one on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Howelsen Ice Arena.
He said while Steamboat might not win, people will see a team that has fun. And in his mind that’s the most important thing.
“We’re not winning as much as we want, but it’s more about team building,” he said. “Kind of using hockey as a metaphor for life. We may not win, but we have a good time.”