American Inline Hockey League (AIHL) history was made twice in one day on Sat., Dec. 10, 2016, at the NHL Anaheim Ducks’ Irvine Inline Rinks in Los Angeles–the Lady Ghostriders, including many decorated players such as 2014 US Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey team Silver Medalist and 2013 IIHF Women’s World Championship Gold Medalist Lyndsey Fry, took the rink in the AAU Level 3 elite league in the Pacific Southwest Division to play the OC Alliance from Orange County, CA, and became the first women’s team to enter the highly competitive men’s division.
It was the Lady Ghostrider’s second game that resulted in a second historical milestone in one day. They defeated the Las Vegas Aces 5-4 in a thrilling game that was noticed by everyone present for its importance to the sport.
Sponsored by Eustis, FL, resident and Assistant Coach Brian Craven, the Lady Ghostriders is coached by veteran AAU Level 3 Elite Head Coach John Marr of Phoenix, who recruited the top women ice and inline hockey players in the nation to represent the hockey development program at the highest amateur levels in order to encourage more girls and women to take up the sport.
“Our Lady Ghostriders is making history by being the only women’s team to compete in the AIHL,” Marr said. “They earned the respect of many players and showed everyone they are here to play. By what we are doing, we hope to encourage others to organize their own women’s AIHL teams.”
The Lady Ghostriders is competing in the Pacific Southwest Division of the 2016-2017 AIHL season, which concludes in May 2017 with the finals in Las Vegas, NV. The team will also be making tournament appearances around the nation to promote the Ghostriders/Shadows Hockey program as well as other programs getting under way.
The new nonprofit Grow Hockey Movement, Inc., based at Terrace Sports in Temple Terrace, FL, is an example of one of the innovative NHL-supported off-ice hockey programs now taking shape. Grow Hockey Movement Board Chairman and President Joe Limone along with Director and Board Secretary Brian Craven and the entire board of directors are working with the Tampa Bay Lightning ‘s Lightning Made Hockey community outreach program to conduct free learn-to-play street hockey tournaments around the Tampa Bay area. That focus has already resulted in a number of schools adopting street, of DEK hockey as a scholastic sport.
“The NHL is wise in its support of off-ice hockey because they know that all players, especially the pros, got their start on the driveway, in the street, at the local park or on a frozen pond. We know that when boys and girls experience off-ice hockey for the first time, they want to play it again,” Limone said.
AIHL Lady Ghostriders
AIHL Lady Ghostriders and men’s Ghostriders AAU Elite Level 3 teams consist of the highest caliber of amateur inline hockey players who are invited based on ability and reputation to take part in one of the nation’s largest AAU-sanctioned development leagues, consisting of some 3 dozen teams from coast to coast.
Grow Hockey Movement
Grow Hockey Movement, Inc., is an IRS 501c(3) nonprofit C-Corp that has as its grassroots mission to help create the next generation of hockey players from the Tampa Bay area, starting at age 4, through making learn-to-play and development programs available for boys and girls in schools and around the community, as well as promoting high school and adult amateur programs. .