Posted at: 02/27/2013 3:14 PM
Updated at: 02/27/2013 6:06 PM
By: Robin De Wind
The number of girls playing hockey has grown significantly over the past ten years. More girls are honing their hockey skills, ready to take on anyone in their way, boy or girl.
Girls who play hockey often have to blaze their own trail in programs primarily filled with boys. A local seventh grader says that's okay and she proved she was one of the best for her age in the world.
Chloe Harvey is easy to spot on her Rochester Monarchs team. She has the only pony tail.
Chloe Harvey, Fairport, said, “I started with the boys. I haven't been with the girls a lot, nothing has changed.”
She put on skates at the age of seven after watching her older brother practice night after night at the rink. Soccer, gymnastics and dance took a back seat to her new love. This natural athlete and defense man doesn't shy away just because she's a girl.
Harvey said, “I don't let them touch my goalie just because I'm a girl. I don't let them treat me like I'm a girl.”
Her confidence and camaraderie serves her well on and off the ice.
Harvey said, “I get the impression that the boys respect you. They are cool. They treat me like any other guy on the team.
She is the best on her team and one of the best in upstate New York for her age group. Chloe was selected for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres 12-year-old and under team, competing last week in the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament at the Pepsi Coliseum.
Harvey said, “It was a regular tryout, i didn't know if I’d get picked. It didn't scare me. It was a great experience, I loved it. It was the best guys from western New York.”
2,300 pee wee players made up teams from 13 counties. Chloe was one of two girls selected. NHL players like Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Eric Lindros, Nathan Gerbe and Thomas Vanek played in this tournament as kids.
Paul Harvey, Chloe's dad, said, “I think it's great for girls who want to purse hockey, soccer, volleyball. Girls can compete with boys, it's not a question do they want to. God bless the girls who want to take them on, more power to her as long as she wants to.”
She is a girl, a pioneer and a player, laying the groundwork for the tens of thousands like her who lace up their skates every day, hoping to change the face of the game they love.
Harvey said, “It makes me feel appreciated about being there. I was one of the only girls out there. It was cool.”
Even though more than 67,000 girls play hockey, a jump from 2,500 in 1988, most school districts don't have a high school hockey team for girls.
Chloe says that's her dream to play in high school and then to go on to play Division I.