It's been a while since young girls have been able to lace up the skates, strap up gear, and grab a stick. Well, they could but they would have to be dressing in a locker room by themselves and competing against the boys. There have been lots of young girls wishing to dangle and snipe goals, but not enough opportunity for them to do so. Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association(KOHA) is looking to make a change to that this year and for years to come.

Watching the game of Women's and girls hockey grow over the years has been exciting. I spent some time at Adrian College, a private division 3 college with 3 different women's hockey teams playing at different levels from NCAA division 3 to several ACHA teams. The intensity, effort, and love that women play hockey with is unparalleled and now that same passion is making it's way to Kalamazoo.

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Starting this upcoming season, the KOHA program is bringing girls hockey back to the city of Kalamazoo. This will be the a girls only travel hockey team for the Kalamazoo Area and they'll be playing in the 12u division. This will allow for young girls born in the years 2010,2011, and 2012 to tryout for the team. Tryouts will be for the fall season and will take place next month. Tryouts will be held Thursday May 19th and Friday May 20th, from 7:15pm-8:15pm at Wings West, 5076 Sports Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009.

This will be one of few girls only travel teams that are available in the Southwest Michigan area. This is not only a huge boost for the sport of hockey for girls but for the state of Michigan as well. We have seen Women's hockey make strides in the recent years and Michigan Women's players have been a focal point in those efforts. Including Abby Rogue, the first BIPOC player on the USA Women's team. They also won the gold medal and have been giving back to young hockey girls. Programs such as KOHA are the reason Michigan girls hockey players will stay a focal point in this movement!

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