When Brit Terry took over as hockey director for the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District, she also took up a cause near and dear to her heart.
Terry played ice hockey as a youngster growing up in Minnesota. She later was a defender on a club team at the University of Minnesota. And she worked on the Gopher Sports Marketing team and helped promote Gopher hockey.
She wanted to share her love for the game when she launched the H-F Pirates girls hockey team in 2008-09. She started with one team for 10-under girls. Now, she oversees two girls teams that play in the South Suburban Hockey League (U12 and U14). She also oversees a house-league hockey program that has grown from 66 players to 137 during her brief term on the job.
“When I played, I liked the fast pace of the game,” Terry said. “I liked the skill level it takes to play hockey. The most important thing is to be able to skate well. It’s unlike so many other sports. Take soccer. Everybody knows how to run from the start. But skating? That’s what makes hockey different.
“It’s a specialized sport. You need to be a good athlete. To have success, you have to have teamwork between all five skaters on the ice at any one team. You have to play together. That was the big draw for me.”
Terry has turned girls hockey into a big draw at the H-F park district, too.
“I’ve seen and worked with some of these girls now since they were 10,” she said. “When a lot of them started, they had never played any kind of organized hockey. Some of them had only skated on a pond. So, they’ve come a long way.
“These young women are smart. They’re good friends and they’ve matured into good hockey players. They’re great listeners and great people to be around. Their motivation differs—for some it’s a social outlet. For others, it’s the competition.”
The Pirates are more than holding their own on the rink nowadays even though they play most of their games against boys teams. In the South Suburban Hockey League, they are pitted against the St. Jude Knights (Southwest Ice Arena, Crestwood), the Kankakee Coyotes and Arctic Junior Fury (Orland Park).
Home games are played on weekends at the H-F Ice Arena.
“When we first started, the girls lost the majority of their games,” Terry said. “But they kept working. Many of them went to camps and clinics. Now, they’re one of the best teams at the Pee Wee level in the SSHL. It’s because they’ve worked so hard.”