SAN DIEGO - The Junior Gulls girls hockey team, one of only three all-girls teams in the state, is making history as the first all-girls team eligible to compete at nationals in Massachusetts next April.
The 14 and under team includes 15 first-year players with the exception of two girls.
"I was really excited because I've been playing coed teams all my life. And I was really excited to be on a team that would more accept me, and like, I would be more a part of the team," said center Emily Kurth.
The team practices in Escondido and competes in the Southern California Amateur Hockey Association. For the first time in their history, the team is eligible to compete at nationals because more than half of the girls developed from within the club rink and have the skill set to play at a national level.
"When you think about ice hockey, San Diego is probably the last city that comes to mind," said head coach Alex Morrison. "For us to be able to have the talent to get there, and represent not just our group and our parents but the entire county, is something pretty special."
In preparation for nationals, the team will play in four girls tournaments this year. Outside of those tournaments, the girls will spend the rest of the season playing in exhibition games against boys teams.
"Girls have the same fight and the thing about being on an all-girls team is we all just want to prove that we're just as good as any of the other boys," said Kurth.
For any young girl interested in playing ice hockey, Morrison suggests contacting their nearest ice rink. Once girls have some experience on the ice, they are then welcome to try out for any of the Junior Gulls Girls teams.
The team will play their first girls game on November 17 when they host the Lady Ducks of Anaheim.