February 15, 2006

W. Hockey Celebrates 10 Years With TGHA

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This past Saturday, the Cornell women’s hockey team celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its collaboration with the Tompkins Girls Hockey Association. The result of the collaboration has been the Cub Club, a big sister-little sister program that pairs members of the Red with some of the younger members of the TGHA. The purpose of the program is to provide role models for the TGHA players and to help create lasting friendships and support groups for the Cornell hockey players.

“This is an opportunity for younger kids to acquire role models through hockey,” said David Herrick, who helps coordinate the program. “It is very powerful for young kids to be among their friends at social events and have Cornell players there too.”

According to Cornell assistant women’s hockey coach Diane Dillon, it is easy for student athletes to get locked up in a world purely consisting of academics and athletics. This program is beneficial for a multitude of reasons, among them is that it helps give the Cornell players an outlet where they are respected. Additionally, it helps young girls stay interested in sports and helps further their own development.

The TGHA was founded in 1972, the same year that women’s hockey became a varsity sport at Cornell. The association is the oldest girls hockey club in New York and one of the oldest in the country. It emphasizes skill development and team building, all while helping its members enjoy the sport of hockey. The TGHA recently became the first girls’ hockey program in to receive a $10,000 NHL A.S.S.I.S.T.S (Assists Skaters and Shooters Intent on Succeeding Together) Grant. The grant is given to youth hockey organizations worldwide to help defray equipment expenses, ice time and travel costs.

In 1995, the Cub Club was formed by Dr. Megan Shull ’91, a two-time letter winner for the women’s hockey team and a former TGHA member. The program links girls aged 7-12 with a player on the women’s hockey team. Through the Cub Club, a support system and fan club is created for each player, whether they are seven or 21 years old.

There are a number of individual and group opportunities to participate in, such as take-your-big-sister-to-school day, bowling parties, skating events and lunches. From that point on, the members of the TGHA and the Cornell hockey team can determine to what extent they want to be involved with each other and the program. In the past, close and lasting relationships have been formed, with TGHA members often being found at Cornell hockey games and vice versa.

“This program helps inspire the girls in the area,” said Cornell assistant coach Robert Burke. “It’s also a flashback for the Cornell players of when they first started playing hockey and is a nice reminder of where they came from.”

Archived article by Jon Hausner
Sun Staff Writer