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Women's hockey sees recent growth in Washington, but still needs more support

One girls hockey team in the Seattle area is playing boys teams in a tournament because of the lack of female teams.

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — Twelve-year-old Jordan Tomacelli has been skating almost as long as she’s been walking and has dreams of becoming a professional hockey player.

It's a dream that’s recently grown among women like her. 

A lack of interest and lack of resources has led to few opportunities for women in hockey, but that’s changing.

“It definitely would be really cool to play D1 college and play for team USA, that’s the dream,” Tomacelli said.

Tomacelli currently plays on a 12-under girls team in the Seattle area and just participated in a hockey tournament in Snoqualmie. The Lady Admirals were one of just two all-girls teams to play in the tournament. Her dad, Nico, said the lack of women’s teams means they have to enter tournaments and play against boy’s teams, something the ladies own.

“It’s exciting to see her step her game up and she matches the physicality and their aggressiveness so it’s great to see her not back down from that,” Nico Tomacell said.

While the girls can keep up, they hope to see their sport grow enough to have their own women’s tournaments. 

That momentum has already started. USA Hockey reports that women’s hockey participation has grown by 34% in the last ten years.

Sno-King’s Wendy Rogers said she’s seen recent growth. At that hockey facility, she said there used to be only a few female teams a couple of years ago, but now there are eight all-female teams and two of those are going to Nationals this year.

“It’s a really exciting time for girl’s hockey," Rogers said. "This season we’ve seen a tremendous amount of growth and participation in the number of teams."

Nico Tomacelli said one issue they face in Washington is a lack of facilities. He wants to see more ice rinks, which will help spread out access. He said they often have to travel far to get to tournaments and other teams, so more resources locally would be a huge help.

In the meantime, though, he’s proud to watch his daughter follow her dreams, regardless of who she is playing.

“Watching the evolution of the game is exciting because it gives the next generation of girls more opportunities than the current generation has today,” Nico Tomacelli said. 

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