By McKibben Jackinsky
Offered the opportunity to play on a Kenai all-girl hockey team, four Homer players — Rachel Bolin, Claire Bryant, Fiona Hatton and Kaitlyn Johnson — accepted the offer and helped push the team to third place in the Alaska Girls State Hockey Championships in Anchorage last weekend.
When some openings were discovered on the Kenai Ice Hawks team of girls younger than 12 years of age, the central peninsula team looked to Homer.
“They had some girls that became of age to move to the next level, so they didn’t have enough players to be a competitive team,” said Michelle Hatton of Homer.
“They invited the Homer girls to fill up their team a couple of months ago, just to play a few games.”
The four Homer hockey players completed the team of 14 athletes.
“They were nervous because it was Kenai and we have this little thing going with Kenai, but they absolutely loved playing with the girls,” said Hatton.
“The girls really loved it.”
The girls’ involvement also meant increased participation by their parents.
“We were all car-pooling, driving the girls to practices in Kenai,” said Hatton.
“It’s the parents that made it work. The drive was an hour and a half each way for an hour practice.”
Homer offers a coed opportunity for young skaters, but this was an opportunity for the four to play on an all-girls team.
“It was totally a different game,
all-girls hockey, than coed,” said Hatton.
“It was fun to see a bunch of girls just giving it their all. They played at a level they don’t normally play.”
At last weekend’s state championship games, the Comets, an Anchorage Hockey Association team coached by Rick Truff, took first place, with the team from Matanuska-Susitna team in second place.
The Ice Hawks claimed third.