Ever since last year, I’ve been waiting to see the 14U St. Louis Lady Blues AAA Hockey Team in action. Because they have so many out-of-town games, over spring break was the first time I was able to watch the team compete in tournament play. I was so excited because I wasn’t aware of any competitive girls ice hockey teams in the St. Louis area. The Lady Blues are the only all-girls Tier 1 team in Missouri, and it is organized by birth year.
The Lady Blues team has four players who do not live in St. Louis area. Two are from Virginia, one is from Nebraska and another is from Iowa. Occasionally, they meet in St. Louis on the weekend so the whole team can practice together. Otherwise, they play on or practice with a local boys team. Because the of lack of all-girls ice hockey teams in the St. Louis area, the Lady Blues are forced to have practice games with local boys teams.
Last year, Mikayla Richter was a student in my seventh-grade math class. When she informed me that she played ice hockey, I thought she meant that she played with her friends at a local ice rink. No, she meant that she was on a traveling competitive girls ice hockey team. At times, she would miss school because she had to travel out-of-town to a tournament. That was fine with me because she is really gifted in math, and she is a honor student. Mikayla was really competitive when we played math games in class, and I knew she would be the same on the ice.
This year, Mikayla invited me to watch the Lady Blues play. The Central District (regionals) Tournament was held at Hardee’s Ice Rink in Chesterfield. There were a lot of boys and girls teams from out of state, and it felt like I was at a collegiate event.
The Lady Blues came ready to play. They scored a point within the first five minutes of play. They faced off against a team from Illinois, called the Chicago Young Americans. Both teams were flying across the ice so fast and playing so competitively. The only indication that there were girls on the ice was their long ponytails hanging from beneath their helmets. Otherwise, they skated so aggressively and hit so hard that I couldn’t tell the difference. The action was so fast that, sometimes, it was difficult for my camera to keep up with the puck. The Lady Blues went on to win this game 3-1.
Next, they played a team from Milwaukee, WI, (the Jr. Admirals), who they defeated 2-1. These two victories helped the Lady Blues capture the Central District Title and bring home the gold medal. For the next stop, the Lady Blues advanced to national competition in Marlborough, MA. Only the top 12 teams in the country go to nationals.
At nationals, the first three games are pool-play. They played Assabet Valley, who went on to win the championship, and lost 1-5. Then they played the New Jersey Colonials (won 1-0), followed by the Connecticut Polar Bears (won 1-0). Only four teams from each of the two pools moved on. In the next round, the Lady Blues played the Anaheim Lady Ducks in the quarterfinals where they lost 2-3 in triple overtime. I can only imagine the excitement during this game!
This was a real accomplishment considering that it was the first year the girls have played as a full team. I can see some of these girls playing on the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team. Congratulations Lady Blues! You put St. Louis on the map for girls ice hockey.
The St Louis 14 U Lady Blues AAA Hockey Team members include:
- Mikayla Richter – an eighth grader at Hixson Middle School in Webster Groves. Mikayla plays soccer, basketball and lacrosse, but hockey is her favorite sport. Plus, she is an avid reader.
- Tanya Boese – a seventh grader at Churchill Center & School in Town & Country. Tanya loves to snowboard and sing.
- Samantha Nolan – a freshman at Pattonville High School in Maryland Heights. She is a recipient of the Presidential Academic Award. Samantha plays varsity golf and was named “Rookie of the Year.” She also plays varsity soccer as a backup goalie.
- Alexis (Lexi) Thomeczek – an eighth grader at St. Richard School in Creve Coeur. Alexis loves playing goalie for the Lady Blues and loves the camaraderie of the team.
- Madison “Maddie” Rigsby – a freshman at Fort Zumwalt West High School in O’Fallon, MO. Madison has been playing hockey since age 7. Maddie said she became a goalie, because this was the only way her brother would allow her to play hockey with him and his friends. This was her second trip to Nationals.
- Abigail Stanley – an eighth grader at Southwest Middle School in Ballwin. She loves playing hockey and softball.
- Hannah Voss – a freshman at Oakville High School. She has been playing hockey since age 5, and she also plays volleyball. Hannah received a silver medal at the 2010 Nationals.
- Adeline Beattie – a seventh grader at Nipher Middle School in Kirkwood. She is a soccer goalie and loves to run.
- Jordan Anderson – a freshman at Oakville High School in Oakville. She also loves to play field hockey and softball. And, Jordan enjoys playing the piano. This was her third trip to nationals.
- Lauren Maclnnis – a seventh grader at Whitfield School in Creve Coeur. She has been playing hockey since the third grade. She said that all of her brothers play hockey and that she lives, eats and breathes hockey.
- Chase Hallemann – an eighth grader at Morgan Selvidge Middle School in Ballwin. She has been playing hockey for eight years. She also enjoys field hockey and soccer.
- Delayne Ivanowski – an eighth grader at Riverbend Middle School in Pacific. Delayne started playing hockey at age nine. After losing her 8-year-old hockey player brother, Delayne stated her passion and heart pours into this game. Every time she hits the ice she says her brother is with her, and he is her inspiration.
- Christin Schaeffer – an eighth grader at St. Boniface Catholic School in Edwardsville, IL. Christin received a silver medal at her first trip to nationals. Christin is an avid reader and is on the honor roll. Also, she has been selected as a Young Achiever in the State of Illinois.
- Jayne Lewis – an eighth grader at Triad Middle School in Troy, IL. Jane enjoys playing competitive sports and snowboarding.
- Brooke Kudirds – an eighth grader at Millard North Middle School in Omaha, NE. This was Brooke’s second trip to Nationals.
- Kierra Sweeney – a freshman at James Madison High School in Oakton, VA. Kierra also plays varsity lacrosse and field hockey. And, she loves art, and she loves to read.
- Dominique Kremer – a freshman at Hudson High School in Hudson, IA. She also loves to run track and cross-country. Dominique is an avid reader, plays the tuba and speaks French.
- Miranda Rigg – a freshman at James Monroe High School in Fredericksburg, VA. Any kind of hockey (on the field or ice rink) is Miranda’s favorite sport.
The 14U Lady Blues AAA Ice Hockey team is lead by Head Coach Dave Stanley and assistants Mark Hallemann and Chris Schaeffer.
Because I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Lady Blues play at the Central District Tournament, I will definitely follow them in the future.
If you would like to view more photos or purchase any of the 800 that I took, please email me.