CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Monsters are no stranger to outreach in Northeast Ohio, especially in the last four years. Through their Grow the Game initiative, the team introduces new players to hockey by limiting entry barriers to the game. On Saturday, October 10, 2020, the Monsters took further steps by hosting their first girls-only clinic.
The inaugural Monsters Girls Street Hockey Clinic presented by Dippin’ Dots featured two-time Olympic Silver Medalist Brianne McLaughlin. McLaughlin, who grew up in nearby Elyria, won silver medals with Team USA at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic games, along with two gold medals (2011, 2013) and one silver medal (2012) at the IIHF Women’s World Championships. She also played with the Buffalo Beauts of the National Women’s Hockey League.
Having a girls-only clinic was an obvious decision for the Monsters.
“The decision to host a clinic specifically for girls was an easy one, considering the tremendous support and interest we have from our female fans,” says Monsters Director of Marketing & Communications, Ben Adams. “Cleveland is a hotbed for women’s hockey, so any chance we have to be a part of that success is exciting for our organization. Of course, having a home-grown Olympian in our backyard certainly helps, and we are thrilled to partner with McLaughlin for this event.”
Northeast Ohio has been incredibly receptive to the Grow the Game events. By giving children low-cost or no-cost access to try the game and interact with the organization, they fuel the flames of interest in the game across all levels.
“We continue to see new faces at each event, and these street hockey clinics provide a great entry point for kids looking to try the sport,” says Adams.
Previously, the Monsters Grow the Game initiative has included programs such as Try Hockey for Free, Learn to Play partnerships, equipment donations, Summer Street Hockey Series, and Tour with the Monsters.
Most notably, the number of girls participating in these historically co-ed programs prompted the Monsters to host this event. Adams mentioned that:
“We look forward to creating additional programs specifically tailored to women and girls and have a number of things in the works for the near future!”
Such events are important for the organization now and the future of hockey. By getting the next generation of players interested and playing the game and limiting barriers of entry, everyone benefits. The team at the Monsters have realized this and put in a considerable amount of work in this initiative.
“We are incredibly grateful to McLaughlin and the rest of our partners in the youth hockey space that help make these events a success,” states Adams. “Special recognition is due to our front office staff, namely Noah Volz and Jock Callander, whose dedication to these events and the overall cause of growing the spot has been critical to the success of this initiative.”
Girls ages 5-14 with all levels of experience were invited to learn the basics or grow their existing skills.
The clinic offered two sessions with beginners from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. and experienced players from 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. Both sessions included:
- A 30-minute panel with the clinic coaches to discuss and ask questions about being women in hockey
- A warmup for beginners led by the coaching staff that featured hockey basics such as holding the stick and learning a proper stance
- USA Hockey-certified instruction in the fundamentals of stick-handling, shooting, and passing
- A socially distant meet-and-greet with McLaughlin and a photo opportunity with her two Olympic Silver Medals
All girls received a Girls Grow the Game t-shirt, a signed photo of Brianne McLaughlin, and the previously mentioned photo opportunity with her silver medals.
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