Little boys who have dreams of becoming a professional hockey player have 30 teams and hundreds of players to look up to. Until this summer little girls who had dreams of becoming a professional hockey had zero teams and zero players to look up to. With the creation of the NWHL little girls now have 4 teams and 88 players to inspire them.
Over 1,800 people showed up to kick off the Buffalo Beauts inaugural season this past Sunday. One of those people was Buffalo Regals U12 coach, Tim O’Donnell. When O’Donnell realized he had the opportunity to bring the girls he coaches to watch history unfold before their eyes he took it.
They see all the boys and grown men out there playing professional sports. Now, they have the opportunity to grow up and do the same thing.
- Tim O’Donnell – Buffalo Regals U12 Coach
For the girls in the Buffalo Regals program this game meant their wildest dreams could finally come true. One day they would have a shot at playing hockey on the NHL level.
It’s pretty cool because now I have a profession that I can actually grow up and be like a NHL player.
– Jaqueline Supples – Buffalo Regals U12 Right Wing
It’s really exciting. I want to be in the NHL and I didn’t think I would make it. Now there is a girl NHL.
– Cameron Geising – Buffalo Regals U12 Right Wing
Madison Leeper has a firey passion for hockey. She respects the game and everything it stands for. Hockey is life. Watching other women have the same respect and passion for the sport solidifies Leeper’s love of hockey.
I get to see all girls play and it shows me that other girls do respect hockey.
– Madison Leeper – Buffalo Regals U12 Defense Left
Mia Boyd and Erin Prendergast were so impressed with the Beauts they want to grow up and play for the team.
I don’t get to come and see this a lot. So, when I do it’s great. I want to play here one day.
– Mia Boyd – Buffalo Regals U12 Center
I get to see all these good players. See how well they play and do. I want to do this one day.
– Erin Prendergast – Buffalo Regals U12 Defense Right
For two-way player, Sarah O’Donnell, it was a chance to watch other girls enjoy playing hockey as much as she does.
It shows people they love hockey.
- Sarah O’Donnell – Buffalo Regals U12 Defense/Forward
It wasn’t just fans who were aware of what this game meant for little girls. Many Buffalo Beauts players were in awe of the amount of girls who showed up to the rink on Sunday. As they took the ice for warm-ups the Beauts looked into the crowd and saw hundreds of little girls who want to grow up to be just like them. Who want to make a living playing the sport they love the most, hockey.
It honestly gave me chills. It was pretty amazing to see all those little girls. They want to play for the Beauts one day which is awesome.
- Emily Pfalzer – Buffalo Beauts
Each little girl was a reminder to the Beauts of how far women have come in the sport of hockey. They were once little girls who had their face inches from the glass watching their favorite players take the ice. They studied their every move and wanted to grow up to be just like Shelley Looney, Cammi Granatos, and Angela Ruggieros.
Coming up for warmups and seeing all those little girls around the side of the rink, that was us wanting to elevate our game and play hockey. So, it’s emotional and exciting for us to see all of them. Those girls need role models to look up to.
- Meghan Duggan – Buffalo Beauts Forward
Both Brianne McLaughlin and Meghan Duggan look at this historical opportunity they have been given as a chance to become role models for little girls everywhere. Maybe one day they will coaching a girl who looked up to them.
For us it’s about being there and being role models for the girls. I have Shelley Looney’s autograph from the 98 team and now she’s coaching me. Now we can be that role model for these kids.
- Brianne McLaughlin – Buffalo Beauts Goalie
The Beauts have watched their dreams come true and have set into motion the dreams of more to come.
Elaine is in her first year writing for The Hockey Writers. She will mostly be covering the Columbus Blue Jackets, Lake Erie Monsters, NWHL, and the charitable works all hockey players partake in.
She just ended a two season internship with the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets.