SIOUX CITY (KTIV) — They dress up for special occasions, but these same young women in Sioux City also want to play some hockey and they want more young women in the area to join in on the fun.
Okoboji, Sioux Center and Yankton already have a girls league. Just this year, the Siouxland Youth Hockey Association added The Girls League, motivating more than 20 young women jump onto the ice.
In this kingdom, young women rule the ice hockey rink.
“It’s really fun to be out skating, chasing a puck and trying new things and getting better,” said Shelby Stevens, who plays hockey.
“I’ve been watching it for so long. I’ve been thinking it’s such a cool sport. That’s why I’ve always wanted to play it. I don’t know what it is,” said Mia Melackrinos, who plays hockey.
For the first time ever, The Girls League with Siouxland Youth Hockey is a reality. Up until now, there have only been young men’s teamS in Sioux City.
Even though a few of these 20 young women play on boy’s teams, this all-girls practice squad started last October and goes until March.
Getting out on the ice is multi-layered process. These young women and girls go from wearing bling and dressing up, to gearing up to play hockey.
No frills here for players like Mia Melackrinos who dresses up nicely when she’s not on the ice.
Here, it’s toe, to head and then some.
After gearing up, it’s time for Mia and her teammates to head out on the ice for drill after drill, which include a few falls and some success.
Jason Gann is one of the coaches hoping more young women catch this hockey fever.
“We just noticed when girls play with other girls and it’s an all-girls team, they play differently. They’re more aggressive with the puck. They listen better. They’re not worried about some of the things boys worry about,” said Jason Gann, Coach in The Girls League of the Siouxland Youth Hockey Association.
Parents are excited about the possibilities.
“I’ve been taking Mia to hockey games since she was even younger and it’s just been a love for the sport she’s had for so long so it’s nice to see her actually be able to get onto the ice,” said Father Luke Melackrinos, Father of hockey player.
“They just love skating. Chasing a puck for some reason is very addictive and they just can’t wait to get back on the ice and do it again,” said Dave Stevens, Father of hockey player.
After this season, these young women and their families want the league to grow so they can go from practicing to competing against other young women.
“You may not know how to skate, but once you do learn, the rest of it just kind of comes to you and Siouxland Youth Hockey will start teaching you how to learn how to skate. We’ll give you the skates and all the equipment you need to get out there and learn the sport,” said Coach Jason Gann.
It’s the love of that sport that keeps them coming back.
“You can barely see girls playing hockey on TV or anything so it would be awesome if we had more girls playing.,” said Mia Melackrinos.
“I see a lot more confidence in her. She feels like she can do anything,” said Father Luke Melackrinos.
With drive and determination, the ice has no limits, and provides room for growth, teamwork and dedication.