Prep Sports

Mayhem on the ice

All-girls hockey team is a success

Mimi Severson (left) and Hayden Johnson skate during drills in with the Maidens of Mayhem hockey team at Cedar Rapids Ice Arena on Feb. 19. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Mimi Severson (left) and Hayden Johnson skate during drills in with the Maidens of Mayhem hockey team at Cedar Rapids Ice Arena on Feb. 19. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids now has a youth all-girls hockey team.

“It came about on a whim,” said Coach Jason Johnson.

Johnson, who played hockey when he was young, first started coaching hockey two years ago when his daughter (now 10) joined the Junior RoughRider program. He noted while it’s not new for girls to play hockey in the Cedar Rapids area, it is new to be able to put together an all-girls team.

Johnson sent an email last fall to a few other parents of girls who had played previously, asking if they’d be interested in joining an all-girls team.

“We had 12 girls for a game in early December, then by Christmas, I had about 25 girls,” Johnson said.

Johnson, whose 10- and 8-year-old daughters joined the team, said he’s been pleasantly surprised and that the venture has been “a blast” so far.

Many of the girls who joined the Maidens of Mayhem had been participating in house leagues and instructional hockey through the Corridor Hockey Association. Some, Johnson said, had not yet even skated but had the desire to learn after watching older brothers play hockey.

“The parents and players are having a great time with this,” he said. “The parents have been really supportive and are getting behind it.”

Johnson noted the ice arena has been very supportive with the new team and, on a national level, USA Hockey also is making a push to encourage more girls to play competitively.

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“My intention was to get some girls together to learn and play hockey and have fun,” he said. “And these girls are picking it up really quickly. They want to learn the sport and do it well. And they are having fun learning the sport alongside other girls.”

Johnson said the team is really starting to grow and he hopes that continues. They have played several friendly games — including against an all-girls team based in Des Moines — and in a few tournaments where they are turning some heads.

Liz Deegan, whose eight-year-old daughter Annabell plays for the Maidens, said it’s been fun to watch the team take shape, grow and impress other tournament attendees.

“The first thing others say is something like ‘Oh! That is so cool,’” she said. “Then they usually point out a daughter, granddaughter or niece who is typically playing on an all-boy hockey team.

“They tell us that they love our team name, too. We get lots of questions and smiles about our team name.”

As for the name, Johnson said much like creating an all-girls team, the idea for the name just came to him one day.

“We do get a lot of great comments on the team name,” he said. “And it’s accurate. When you get a bunch of six- and seven-year-old girls out there on the ice it can be mayhem.”

The team — with girls ranging from age 5 to 13 — is competing at the 8U and 10U levels and Johnson anticipates having a 12U team next year as the girls age up. The team will travel to an all-girls tournament in Illinois next weekend and Johnson said he’s excited for the girls to see older high school girls play as well.

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“This is not just a boy’s game. This is a game for everybody,” he said. “And our focus is not on winning but making sure the girls are having a good time.”

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