BostonBruins.com - The Bruins hosted their first-ever Girls Hockey Day on Friday, March 10, at TD Garden.
For seven straight hours, more than 400 girls and women of all ages hit the ice for skating, instruction, skills work, and most importantly, fun.
Members of the professional women's teams, the Boston Blades and Boston Pride, hit the ice throughout the day, along with Olympic medalist Sara DeCosta-Hayes.
USA Hockey helped put on the event, with Hockey American Development Model Regional Manager Roger Grillo running clinics and USA Hockey Manager of Adult Hockey Katie Holmgren on hand to lead the day.
"It's fantastic. We're always happy to do something with our NHL partners, and this is such a big hockey market, so to get them all on the ice is just awesome," said Holmgren. "They all want to be a part of it."
Girls Hockey Day kicked off with girls from the "Little Bruins" program hitting the ice for a skate on the TD Garden ice, followed by a round-robin U10 Half-Ice Jamboree with six teams: Assabet Valley, Cape Anne Youth Hockey, Duxbury Youth Hockey, MA Spitfires, Parkway Youth Hockey, and Waltham Youth Hockey.
Grillo ran a set of skills clinics for girls across New England, including a U12 clinic and a U14 body contact clinic, as well as a high school clinic.
The Boston Blades and Boston Pride ladies helped run the clinics. Blades players included forwards Kristina Brown, Dru Burns, Kate Leary, Megan Myers, Kayla Tutino, goaltender Jetta Rackleff, and Blades Captain Tara Watchorn.
Pride players included defenders Lexi Bender and Alyssa Gagliardi, goaltender Brittany Ott, and forwards Amanda Pelkey and Jordan Smelker.
The Blades and Pride each invited a high school team from Massachusetts to participate, with the Blades surprising the girls from Peabody High and the Pride inviting the Dennis Yarmouth girls hockey team.
The women's group capped off the day, with a clinic and scrimmage that closed down the rink at 10:00 p.m.
"There were so many different groups on the ice," said Holmgren. "And to finish up the day with the adult ladies getting on the ice, it's a market that usually gets left out and for us at USA Hockey, it's a cradle to grave sport, so we think it's important to include everybody."
Women from the Bruins' front office hit the ice, in addition to women from the New England Women's Hockey League.
"It's never too late to start," said Holmgren. "So it's fun to be on the ice with the younger girls earlier and getting to learn some things from players who are playing professionally or played in college, and then for the ladies that just started and are a little bit older, maybe hockey moms that want to try the game, and to see how much they enjoy it too is really enjoyable."
Gill enjoyed the time on the ice, and couldn't stop smiling, especially when the final group hit the ice.
"Yeah, he was having a great time," smiled Holmgren. "And it was nice to have an NHL personality on the ice with those ladies."
"It's cool. I think these girls are obviously excited to come out and play at the Garden," smiled Gill. "You should see some of these girls that have some skills, they have good sticks, they're smart, they know where to be, they know the open spots, and I've seen a couple of bar-downs here, so it's been fun to watch."