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NJ Devils and USA Hockey Hold Girls Hockey Clinic at Prudential Center

(Photo courtesy of Patrick Dodson/New Jersey Devils)

(Photo courtesy of Patrick Dodson/New Jersey Devils)


The New Jersey Devils and USA Hockey held the team’s first girls only American Development Model Clinic at the Barnabas Health Hockey House earlier this month.

The clinic was a third in a series of ADM events held at the team’s practice facility in Newark, New Jersey. More than 50 girls from around the Atlantic District of New Jersey, Delaware and Eastern Pennsylvania participated in the hour long event on March 18.

The players between the ages of eight and 14 years old were able to hone their skills, from three-on-three cross ice hockey, to stickhandling skills, to passing drills and even kicking a soccer ball into the empty net, helping to emphasize balance at various stations throughout the clinic.

Devils Director of Grassroots and Amateur Hockey Operations and USA Hockey Associate Coach in Chief for the Atlantic District, Andy Gojdycz said, “When you think about it you are working on both edges of your skates. Footwork, balance and coordination though we present it as having fun.”

Gojdycz, who also serves as the New Jersey ADM Supervisor enlisted the help of an all-star cast of coaches to assist with the clinic. Some of those which included; Kiira Dosdall and Gabbie Figueroa of the New York Riveters of the National Women’s Hockey League, Olympian Josephine Pucci as well as other former NCAA players.

For many of the coaches, all-girl clinics were not available as they began their hockey careers, which helped make the clinic extra special for them as they helped guide the young players. Dosdall said, “I was the only girl in Southern Connecticut that played, that was my age, maybe a couple of others, but we all played with boys.”

She explained, “When I was a kid I knew every other girl player within a 30-mile radius of me. Now there are dozens of programs within a 30 mile of New Jersey and Connecticut.” Dosdall added that it was a special feeling to help coach the kids in this growing segment of the game.

The creation of this clinic represents the growing participation of girls in the sport of hockey. USA Hockey ADM Coordinator, Maureen Thompson-Siegel said, “The success of our Olympic teams and the success of our NCAA teams are just spreading the interest through the younger kids.” Roxanne Gaudiel, a four-year goaltender for Princeton University added, “It is really great to see so many girls out there and to really see the sheer number of girls at every age group.” She mentioned that growing up in Venice, Florida she never had the opportunity to attend an all-girls clinic.

The clinic was the inaugural event held in the recently renamed practice facility at the Prudential Center. Just a week earlier the facility hosted the NWHL’s Isobel Cup Finals. Some of the participants even attended the championship series on March 11th and 12th. Gojdycz added, “You can see how circular it is.”

Natalie Peterson an 11-year who plays for the Bayonne Rangers, attended the clinic and the Isobel Cup aspires to play professionally one day and even said that it was “amazing” to be on the same ice as some of her heroes.

Gojdycz said, “The Devils are fully committed to the growth of girls’ youth hockey and understand the significance the sport can have in a child’s development on and off the ice.”

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