A successful season for a local girls’ club hockey team thanks to a record 10 college commitments continues with this week’s national championships.
The Tigers Girls Elite team, who placed second in the nation last spring, was seeded fourth headed into the 19U Tier II division at the USA Hockey national championships Wednesday to Sunday in San Jose, Calif. The Tigers won the state and district titles to qualify.
The Colorado Springs Amateur Hockey Association team is Tier II but travels all over North America for Tier I tournaments to showcase the players, coach Rich Furia said.
It was through those tournaments that Littleton’s Remi Martin garnered a Division I scholarship to Penn State. The other nine players, including Cheyenne Mountain High School senior Jena Kosley and Liberty graduate Ashley Krajcovic, are headed to Division III.
Kosley said the program’s focus on hard work makes players attractive to colleges, especially new coaches looking to change the culture of their program.
“That is why Finlandia wanted four of us,” Kosley said. “They (college coaches) know we can learn and play within a system.”
It is not difficult to find interested players after the 2012 runner-up finish. There are not a lot of girls programs in the West and only a few in Colorado; Tier I and II teams with Denver’s Colorado Selects, north Denver’s Hyland Hills program and a Mountain State Girls Hockey League all-star squad and the Tigers, which started in 2009.
“With all the trips to the East Coast, they know they’ll get scouted,” Krajcovic said.
Because the program’s core players are graduating, Furia expects 10 commits will be a high for some time.
CSAHA will add a 16U team this fall thanks to meet the demand from locals and out-of-area players, director Shaun Hathaway said.
The commitments played a big role in that. Younger players see an attainable goal – college hockey – and the program provides a starting point.
That is critical for the players ages 12-13 and their parents who must decide if they want to pursue college hockey.
“They will do it if they see a future,” Furia said. “This shows there is one.”
Here are the 10 local club players headed into women’s college hockey next season:
Remi Martin, Littleton, Penn State
Emily Coope, Phoenix, Utica (N.Y.)
Taylor England, Phoenix, Finlandia (Mich.)
Jena Kosley, Colorado Springs, Finlandia (Mich.)
Ashley Krajcovic, Colorado Springs, Castleton State (Vt.)
Sara Martin, Durango, Finlandia (Mich.)
Lanie Matsumoto, Fort Collins, Franklin Pierce (N.H.)
Monica Patten, Steamboat Springs, SUNY Oswego
Gemma Sandell, Boulder, Finlandia (Mich.)
Noelle White, Los Angeles, Franklin Pierce (N.H.)