Two Local Teams Appear in Fifth Annual Traverse City Challenge Girls’ Hockey Showcase

TRAVERSE CITY – The second day of fifth annual Traverse City Challenge Girls’ Hockey Showcase took place on Saturday with a pair of local teams making an appearance.

The Petoskey Piranhas defeated the Grand Rapids Area Griffins with a final score of 10-4, while the Traverse City North Stars fell to Alpena 7-0 in the morning games. But according to North Stars head coach Michael Pascarelli, the tournament is more than just winning and losing—it’s showing that girls can play hockey, too.

“We have to fight against the idea that hockey is a boys sport. And some of these girls have been playing the game since she could walk,” he said. “And these girls have just had a terrific experience. But, at the end of the day, we’re building leaders, and we are doing that through the sport of hockey.”

Many of the players agreed.

“I think it’s important because it gives you a family like no other sport has. It’s a lot of confidence, even though it mainly is a mens sport. It just gives you the kind of feeling that you can do it too…if you can play hockey, you can do anything,” Petoskey senior Allyson VanAntwerp said.

“The number of people that tell me that I shouldn’t be playing hockey because I’m a girl is unbelievable. But it builds strength, mentally and physically, it gives girls that confidence they need in everyday life. It’s an amazing sport,” Grand Traverse Academy freshman and Traverse City North Stars player Shae Miller said.

Pascarelli added that the tournament has been very well-received since its inaugural puck drop in 2012.

“Now we’ve got 14 teams, including college teams, it’s really great. It’s one of the biggest women’s hockey events in all of Michigan,” he said. “It’s showcasing the girls and their abilities and all the time they spent developing their game. Everybody that comes here wants to come back the next year. It’s just a lot of fun.”

Petoskey head coach Jim Van Antwerp agreed.

“We don’t get an opportunity to see that many girls up here. There’s two or three teams locally in Northern Michigan, so this is fantastic watching these teams come in from all over the place, the high school teams coming up, college teams coming to play, so it’s just a great opportunity for the girls and for the community to see girls hockey,” VanAntwerp said.

Miller also enjoys participating in the event.

“I mean this tournament is definitely an eye-opener for all of us. It gets us and tells us where we are in the game, what we’re doing and where to improve,” she said.

The final day of the tournament takes place Sunday, January 21 at Centre Ice Arena.

Categories: Hockey