By CARLON SCOTT
Many BYU sports fans have probably heard about the IceCats, the men’s hockey team made up of BYU students. But they probably haven’t heard of the Wildcats.
Twelve BYU students got together back in December and formed the Wildcats, a women’s hockey team. The idea for the team started last summer through the BYU Hockey Club.
Due to some publicity and a lot of word of mouth communication, the Wildcats were able to find a group large enough to start practicing.
The team has been practicing for three months. Wildcats’ coach Trevor Davis, whose previous hockey coaching experience was with boys’ teams, is impressed by what he sees. This is his first experience with a women’s team. “In just the few months we have been practicing, they have made a lot of progress,” Davis said.
The team practices twice a week, once on the ice and once in the gym. For some of the women, the Wildcats have given them a chance they have never had before — to play hockey.
Sophomore Wildcat Wendy Payne is from Wainwright, Alberta, Canada. “Growing up, girls never played hockey. They always played Ringet,” she said.
Ringet is a sport that bares some similarity to hockey, but it’s a very different game.
“I have always wanted to play hockey,” Payne said. “At home, all the guys play hockey and it’s just an incredibly huge sport that involves the whole community,” said Payne.
Other members of the team are getting their first experience with the game.
Junior A.J. Stoddard from Idaho Falls, Idaho, played hockey for the first time in December. “I just felt adventurous that day I decided to play,” she said.
“After that first practice, the skating, the rules of the game, that was when I started to like it a lot,” Stoddard said.
Their dedication is obvious. The women show up at 6 a.m. for their on-ice practice at Utah Lake. “Most women I know wouldn’t be caught dead without their face on at 6 a.m.” Davis said.
Every player on the team has to pay all of their own expenses and buy their own equipment. They play because they love the sport.
Junior Dorothy Hornberger, also from Wainwright, enjoys every hockey chance she gets. “I love the physical contact of the game,” she said. “I love coming out in the morning. It gets your blood pumping. Its great.”
The BYU Hockey Club started the team with the goal of gaining extramural support sometime in the future.
Davis thinks that future is bright. “Without a lot of women’s hockey out in the West, it will be tough for the team to get extramural status,” he said. “But I think it will happen. It will take some time, but it will happen.”
The team first needs a goalie. But with Davis’ donation of goalie gear, they hope to find one soon. As soon as that position is filled, the team said it wants to schedule their first game against a women’s team from Salt Lake.