WEST CHESTER, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A girls-only edition of the Philadelphia Flyers' Learn to Play hockey program is popping up this spring.
Local girls aged 5 to 9 grabbed a hockey stick and hit the ice for the first time today at Ice Line in West Chester, Pennsylvania. They were led by Alyssa Gagliardi of Bryn Mawr, who has moved into various coaching roles after playing professional women's hockey.
"It's grown a lot in the last few years since I graduated college," said Gagliardi about women's ice hockey. "And I think the Flyers investing in, you know, kind of really focused efforts with the girls and women's side is so important."
Gagliardi is relishing the opportunity to influence a new generation that will have even more opportunities on the ice than she had.
"I fully believe that these little girls are going to be able to dream of playing professional hockey soon enough," she said. "And it'll be really cool to see just the continued growth in the next 5, 10, 15 years."
9-year-old Emma Cash from West Chester got the idea to try out hockey from watching her dad and brother play.
"I'm kind of nervous, but I'm feeling kind of excited because I've been wanting to do this for a while," she said.
Another participant, 7-year-old Chloe Casey of West Chester, has already gotten a head start practicing on the ice.
"I think I'm going to get better on the Flyers team because it's going to help me get faster," she said. "Sometimes, I fall down but I'm starting to get better because I kept getting up when I fell."
Girls will continue meeting over the course of six weeks to hone their skills. While registrations are closed for the West Chester program, there is still availability for the sessions in Aston, Pennsylvania, which begin on April 15, 2023.
To learn more about the Flyers Learn to Play program, visit their website.
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