View Full Version : Help Getting Started
02-14-2003, 12:02 PM
With the Buffalo Wings, we had tried for a number of years to develop our women's program. We created the Buffalo Angel Wings, adult team, that played in a couple of events and was very successful. But when we tried to get something more permanent set-up, like joining the W-MLRH, we couldn't get any commitments. I've seen the same thing at the collegiate level.
Now that I've started Inline Hockey America, I would like advice that I can pass on to the Wings and the CRHL on how to start and maintain a successful women's program. In Buffalo, there are some pretty good women and girls ice hockey programs. Niagara University has a real good DI team (one girl on that team has played for the Angel Wings) and there are some youth teams. Is it a question that we have to provide them with a free ride meaning we have to competely outfit them and cover all their cost (unlike the men's travel teams where the players will carry some or all the costs)? Should we start at the younger divisions and work our way up or start at the adult level and work our way down? Do we have to do more advertising or at least more targeted advertising? Should we promote our leagues more as co-ed teams, get a couple of girls to join our travel teams and then use these girls as a catalyst for a women's travel team?
Any help would be appreciated. I would especially like to hear from the ladies to see what they are looking for.
Inline Hockey America
02-14-2003, 02:56 PM
geez, Benny, you already have a handle on the whole enchilada (as we say in West Texas). Your answer, of course, is "all of the above."
Please allow me to give you my barometer reading of where you are, based on the different program situations you described.
We have done about half of the things that you have posited as possible roads of development...all the things we have tried have been successful...and we are barely getting started ourselves...
The fact is, the overall interest in Girls/Women's inline hockey is only just at the beginning point...locally, we have a third year 12's program, each of our tournament teams is now coed with several girls at each level, up through the 12's age level. We have (finally) got a 17's team going, in which we have 8 girls, all 12-15 years old. We have 3 girls committed to join the team from Dallas, which is the only way we have a full roster (that would be like girls from Chicago playing for you in Buffalo, by the way). We don't even have any 16-17 year olds.
There are 7-8 women playing ice next door, and IF I could entice all of 'em to join the roller side of the world, then that would be a novice/intermediate group.
I still get the feeling that, North of the Mason-Dixon Line, roller hockey is still perceived as a step child by ice players, so you have that prejudice to overcome...
What I see: you are doing all the things you need to, keep on keepin' on, "from the bottom up" seems to be the only path working for us, just understand that, twenty years from now, we will look back at this time frame, and realize how really at the beginning of it all we really are...
Sorry I can't offer more concrete help...
02-14-2003, 04:09 PM
Our teams were formed out of our girls ice hockey program. We are based in the one of the largest roller hockey areas in the country (Orange County, CA) and still have to beg girls to come and play roller. Both our Platinum and girls team have at least three girls that have played AA or AAA on boys teams.
I have struggled with the isue of advertising, the club has teams from 10 and under thru 19 and under ice programs, with some national level championship. That is our only draw for the ice program, they don't advertise, but the draw for tryouts is pretty good.
On the roller side a silver at NARCh and at Gold at Winternationals for the womens will hopefully draw attention to the program.
The club took our 89 team to Winternationals to play against the boys, with the we thought would be total destruction, but the girls won the first two and tied the third to make it into the seeding bracket.
I don't know the true answer to your question, I struggled for years watching my kid play roller against the boys with no girls team in the area. Try to get tournaments to have a womens/girls division. Patty Twogood with Topcat Hockey does a fantastic job of getting womens teams to come and play.
02-24-2003, 03:03 PM
I play for the Washington Spin and we too are struggling with the same things you are. We are having a hard time getting sponsors and so far have been paying for all of our expenses out of pocket and it is beginning to get very expensive. We really want to promote women's roller hockey in the metropolitan area, as you do up north. I would like to keep our communication lines open and share ideas and maybe we can work together to promote women's hockey from here all the way up to where you are. We need to have tournaments and try to attract teams from all over the east coast. If you would be interested in working with us please let me know.
02-24-2003, 09:37 PM
Its a known fact that the Buffalo NY area has several successful and emerging womens/girls ice hockey programs in the local Buffalo NY area....from the top level of Collegite ice programs @ Niagara & Buff State down to the amateur programs through Holiday/ Pepsi Center leagues. Just through general conversation amongst friends I think one variable for the lack of interest in womens roller hockey is the lack of advertisement of women's inline programs in the buffalo NY area. Just a suggestion....need more advertisement promoting the opportunity for women to play inline hockey.
02-25-2003, 05:53 PM
Thanks, Caroline, that sounds great. I have some connections as well like Patty Twogood, who runs Topcat Hockey. Also, Team Franklin women's team out of Toronto and Tara Plew who runs the women's roller hockey team out of Penn State U. Please contact me directly at bennyg@inlinehockeyamerica and give me your e-mail address. I'll be in touch.
Inline Hockey America
02-25-2003, 05:57 PM
Not advertising enough is definitely a problem which I hope to correct through Inline Hockey America. However, women and girls ice hockey programs, moreso than the men's version, are very territorial. It's hard to break into that shell. You have to do what you said and saturate the market with advertisiing to let girls know that roller is available.
Inline Hockey America
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