There is a growing trend in North Texas youth hockey and parents say it’s something good for their young daughters.
The Dallas Stars Youth Hockey League is now 12% girls. That is a new record for the program.
In that program is the Girls Learn to Play extension for girls 4 to 9 who want to learn the basics of the sport. That sold out in less than seven hours when it opened. Dallas Stars President and CEO Brad Alberts said that's when he knew it was a special program.
“We’ve been creating a girls little rookie program for more than three years and that program was combined with boys. This year during the pandemic, we partnered with the NHL to create a learn-to-play program. It makes me really happy and proud,” Alberts said. “I am a father of a female athlete and this is why we do it. We want to empower young females and get them playing sports.”
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Cynthia Barajas’ 5-year-old daughter is one of the girls participating.
“When my daughter puts on her gear she says, ‘Mommy I am fearless,’ and then she goes on the rink and skates like no other. I am so proud of her,” Barajas said. “She had no rink experience when we first heard about the program through [her school]. She was nervous the first day, but she has loved it ever since.”
Barajas said her daughter has found courage and confidence through hockey.
For Alberts, it is more than just teaching girls the sport, but it’s also about equality and opportunity.
“What’s really exciting is that 76% of the girls who were in this program this time have signed up to advance their hockey skills and join the next level of hockey academy,” Alberts said.
The girls who are in the six-week program are gifted all their gear when everything is over, thanks to the partnership with the Stars and the National Hockey League.
This camp is over, but Alberts said they are working to open more at other Star Centers across North Texas.