By Edward Helb | Women Play Ball
60+ Girls Enroll in Rose City Hockey Club in Portland, OR
In the summer of 2013, Caroline Parks, Rose King, and Jessica Duggan launched the Rose City Hockey Club for girls ages 4-10 in Portland, Oregon. The mission of the club is to provide a safe, affordable, and fun environment for girls to try ice hockey. The club offers a positive environment to teach girls the fundamentals of the sport in a way that helps raise their self-confidence and self-esteem.
The Rose City Hockey Club has seen a ton of success in its 3-skate pilot season. It grew from approximately 30 participants during its November inaugural skate to over 60 participants now. Of them, a staggering 95% of girls are new to the sport of hockey. “It’s just terrific that so many girls are interested in playing ice hockey,” said Parks. “It’s a great feeling to look out on the ice and see them learning to skate and shoot. They really give their very best!” As the club continues to grow, it will implement more and more cross ice games and eventually add a team travel to their program, so the girls can compete with other local hockey clubs.
Much of the club’s success can be attributed to a large base of volunteers from local women’s adult hockey community, who inspire the players to give their all. “Learning to skate isn’t easy,” said King. “Our volunteers are wonderfully supportive and helpful on the ice. We really appreciate their help.”
Another reason for the club’s success is its three dedicated founders, who are passion about the sport. Parks, King, and Duggan have a combined 40 years of hockey playing experience. All three of them still hit the ice with local teams every week.
Some challenges during the club’s season arose with equipment, specifically not having enough sticks, pucks, helmets and other items for the participants. The Coaches surmounted this problem with equipment donations from volunteers and other youth hockey programs such as the Portland Junior Hawks. Another challenge on the horizon may be the limited amount of ice rinks in the local area. The Coaches are exploring alternatives with other youth hockey programs.
Parks and her team have successfully used social media and word-of-mouth to market their hockey club. The Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL) have also helped promote the Rose City Hockey Club via Facebook and Twitter. The Winterhawks regularly provide the club with a table in the arena to promote the program. “We definitely appreciate the great support we’ve received from the Winterhawks,” said Duggan.
When it’s all said and done, the Rose City Hockey Club is an amazing program making a difference for the youth in Oregon. To learn more, “like” the Rose City Hockey Club on Facebook (facebook.com/rosecityhockeyclub), follow them on Twitter (@PDXGirlsHockey), and visit their website (rosecityhockeyclub.com).