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Breaking the Ice: How the Frontier Girls Hockey League is empowering a new generation in the Inland Northwest

by MIKE BAKER/Guest Writer
| September 9, 2023 1:07 AM

The icy wind cuts across the rink, but the girls on the ice are undeterred. They skate with purpose, each stride stronger than the last. For the first time, they are not the only girls on the ice. They are not the token female players on a boys’ team. They are part of the Frontier Girls Hockey League and they are making history.

It is the first league of its kind in the Inland Northwest, created to provide girls with the opportunity to play, thrive and advance in hockey. Backed by the Inland Northwest Girls Hockey Foundation, the Frontier Girls Hockey League is more than just a sports league; it is a movement dedicated to empowering the next generation of female leaders.

A Game-changer for girls

For years, girls in the Inland Northwest who wanted to play hockey had very limited options. They could either join boys teams or travel great distances to participate in girls tournaments. The league changes all that by providing a regional home for high-level hockey, exclusively for girls.

“This league means more than just new opportunities; it signifies a commitment to fostering a new generation of amazing female athletes,” said Elliot Taub, a founding member of the league. “By creating a space dedicated to the growth and development of young female hockey players, we are not only changing the game but also shaping the future of the sport.”

Ailey George, a player on the 16U team said, “For me the league provides an opportunity for girls like us that want to play high-level hockey like we would in college that we wouldn’t get in coed leagues.”

Building leaders on and off the ice

Hockey is more than just a game; it is a powerful tool for personal development. The sport teaches important life skills such as teamwork, discipline, perseverance and leadership. By providing girls with the opportunity to play in a league of their own, the league is helping to instill these values in the next generation of female leaders.

“The lessons learned on the ice are invaluable in all areas of life,” said Chris George, a parent of one of the players. “I’ve seen my daughter grow in confidence and resilience since joining the league. It’s incredible to see the positive impact it has had on her.”

Bringing communities together

The league is also playing a crucial role in bringing communities together. By attracting regional teams that drive (not fly) to games, the league is fostering a sense of togetherness and pride in the Inland Northwest.

“The FGHL is not just about hockey; it’s about building community,” said Mike Baker, board member of the INGHF. “It’s about providing girls with the opportunity to represent their communities and to be role models for other young girls in the region.”

A Brighter future

The inaugural season of FGHL is just the beginning. With a singular focus on providing girls of the Inland Northwest a regional home for high-level hockey, the league is set to create a lasting impact in the region.

“We are committed to growing girls hockey in the Inland Northwest and to providing girls with the opportunity to play, compete and lead,” said Mikayla Chongway, board member and treasurer of the foundation. “Together, we are building a brighter future for our young female athletes and creating a more inclusive and equitable world for all.”

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The first Frontier Girls Hockey League game is played Sept. 2 at Eastern Washington University.