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FEATURE: Growing the Girls' Game

International Day of the Girl a year-round mantra for Blackhawks youth hockey initiatives

by Fred Mitchell / Community Correspondent

The declaration that Friday, Oct. 11, is the "International Day of the Girl," is an official proclamation, not necessarily a new call to action when it comes to the Chicago Blackhawks organization.

The Blackhawks have been mindful of the commitment to serve and support girls through hockey initiatives for quite some time.

The first international observance of this day was declared by the United Nations on Oct. 11, 2012, in order to raise awareness of gender inequality in terms of education, legal rights, medical care and protection from discrimination.

"Our focus the past couple of years has been on girls-only programming, female programming," said Annie Camins, Blackhawks Senior Executive Director of Fan Development. "And Laura Jordan (Fan Development Coordinator) has done a good job of creating 'Little Blackhawks,' female-only sessions. Last year (Olympian) Kendall Coyne launched the 'Golden Coynes.' We had to have a second session. We had an ice sheet for 30 girls and we ended up getting a second ice sheet. We obviously doubled our expectations. 

"It was impressive for the first year of doing something. And obviously with Kendall's backing and her credentials...I think it was kind of a win-win for both of us. It was an all-female staff on the ice, all female coaches. It was really a good concept, a good way to launch the female programming."

Video: Girls in the Game with Constellation

Indeed, the Blackhawks consider emphasis on girls events much more than a one-day designation.

"Last summer we did the all-girls hockey camp, when we had some 28 Olympians coming to that," Camins said. "I thought that was pretty successful. "And now we are just working with Kendall next weekend for the PWHPA (Professional Women's Hockey Players Association) Dream Gap Tour. Magellan Corporation is hosting it as the presenting sponsor and it is going to be at Fifth Third Arena."

The Blackhawks will be running a First Stride clinic with some of the Olympians who are flying into Chicago next Friday. An all-girls on-ice clinic will be held at the United Center.

Tennis legend and female sports advocate Billie Jean King is slated to attend the event.

The Blackhawks also have plans to run some female coaching clinics geared to coaches who coach females.

"In December we are hosting with the NHL the girls-only youth cup," Camins said. "It will be the first time the NHL has hosted an all-girls youth tournament. So we will do that Dec. 12-14. It will be geared toward Tier 1 and Tier 2 age groups, 12 to 19-year-olds. We will have some speakers, some college coaches and other people on a panel to kind of speak to the girls during the tournament about the next steps of their career if they want to continue to play."

For the latest information on Blackhawks Youth Hockey initiatives, click here

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