This weekend, a former Olympic hockey player will hit the ice to help inspire girls to do the same.
The Bend Rapids Hockey Club will host the “Girls Have The Edge” hockey clinic this Saturday from 9 AM to 12:30 PM
Four time Olympian and current Calgary Infernos forward Rebecca Johnston plans to join the packed house of 50 little girls, ready to learn the game.
“I’ve never been to Oregon or Bend for that matter so I’m excited,” Johnston said.
“We’re really excited to meet her,” he said Brystol Kitchell, a Bend Rapids athlete.
Brystol and her sister Braelin Kitchell will be among those girls set to meet Johnston at the Girls Have The Edge hockey clinic, and the hype is mutual.
“Myself, I want to encourage girls to play hockey in any area and any place,” Johnston said.
For the sisters, that encouragement came from their love of the rink.
“I used to help out whenever my sister was playing and then I liked skating a lot,” Braelin said.
“We can do a lot of stuff like skates, cross-overs, superman’s,” Brystol said.
Their dedication shines through 5am practices and discipline.
“We used to do hot chocolate in the water bottles because it was so cold,” said mom Shirley Kitchell.
Brystol told me she practices on the fake ice at her house when she’s not able to hit the rink.
Out on the ice, the sisters feel that cold melt away as the heat of competition sets in, something Johnston knows too well.
“Because it truly is the best sport,” Johnston said.
A sport that needs more girls, with a handful on the Rapids.
“Me, my sister, Kara, Hailey, Aurora, Alma… six!” Braelin said recounting the girls on her team.
Now Brystol, once the first girl on her Bend Rapids team, will meet many other girls interested in hitting the ice at this Bend Rapids’ program.
“I think it’s going to be really exciting because I didn’t know that there were 50 girls that played hockey,” Brystol said, “I thought there was like, 25.”
“Within hockey all of my best friends are my teammates or past teammates and you just meet so many great people along the way,” Johnston said.
Great people to keep that competitive spirit alive, and bring more chicks to pick up sticks and shoot for the stars.
“I want to be on the USA girls hockey team,” Brystol said.
Girls around Central Oregon are so excited for this clinic, that a waitlist had to be created.
If you missed the time to sign up, don’t worry, the Bend Rapids hope to continue this ‘girls club’ with more events soon.