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USA Hockey staff helps stoke girls hockey excitement in Tennessee, Michigan

By USA Hockey, 03/05/18, 11:00AM MST

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A trio of USA Hockey American Development Model managers – Bob Mancini, Scott Paluch and Emily West – visited Tennessee recently to conduct a weekend-long girls hockey extravaganza in conjunction with the Southern Amateur Hockey Association and the Nashville Predators.

The Nashville Girls Hockey Weekend welcomed athletes ranging in age from 8U to 16U for on- and off-ice training with USA Hockey staff plus Dillon Caffrey, Allie LaCombe and Kahlie Singletary from Nashville Girls Hockey, Jenny Cunkelman from the Lab and Mike Skeats from the Nashville Predators. Approximately 40 players opened the festivities Friday night with off-ice sessions that included a dynamic warmup and station-based drills focused on shooting, stickhandling, athleticism and goalie skills. Saturday featured a two-hour, six-team jamboree of small-ice games for 8U and 10U squads at the Lab, along with off-ice body-contact training and hockey family presentations. Next came a try-hockey-for-free event hosted by the Predators. The weekend concluded Sunday with more on-ice girls hockey clinics.

It was a busy weekend for West, USA Hockey’s ADM manager for female hockey, and merely the first stop on a player development road trip that also brought her to longtime hockey hotbeds like Detroit and Kalamazoo, Michigan, but the miles were well worth it.

“There were many things that stood out to me about the hockey scene in Nashville, but what stuck with me the most is the passion the region has for growing hockey,” said West. “The passion, persistence and effort that Nashville put into providing a girls hockey weekend was phenomenal. I can only see hockey continuing to grow in the state of Tennessee with the great people, great support, and an absolutely wonderful fan base. It’s an exciting time for hockey in the south, and I can’t wait to see where girls hockey goes in Nashville.”

Four hundred miles to the north, girls hockey remains on the rise in Michigan. While visiting the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association, a USA Hockey Model Association, West and Mancini helped lead a District 6 skills event that welcomed more than 40 girls ranging from 8U to 16U. The event included an on-ice skill development segment, an off-ice training session with staff from Athletic Mentors, a nutrition talk and a hockey family Q-and-A session.

“The excitement and buzz that is surrounding girls and women’s hockey right now is contagious," said West. "The staff in Kalamazoo is continuing to go above and beyond for these girls and it's an awesome thing to see how much those girls enjoyed the event. I can’t thank all the girls enough for participating, and also thanks to KOHA for having us.”

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