The Huntsville Hoyas Varsity Girls Hockey Team (back from left) Olivia Graham, Avery Simpson, Abbigale Huke, Gabby Farr, Meredith Moeller, coach Sara Hutson; (middle from left) Andrea Dafonte, Coralie Balfour, Emma Punkari, Heather Hawkins, Julia Keown, Paige Bennett, Aliyah O’Dell; (front from left) Evangeline Perentesis, Morgan McCartney, and Ashleigh Vallentin. Absent from photo: Trinity Ehl and assistant coach Jim Simpson (supplied)
The girls’ varsity hockey team at Huntsville High School has had a successful season, and are so far undefeated in their league play.
And in their pre-season tournament, the Hoya Girls earned their way into the B Division semi-final game “where they played against some tough competition,” says coach Sara Hutson. “It is exciting to see such a bright future starting for Hoya hockey.”
This year the team consists of young new players with the majority of them—11 of 16— in grades nine and 10.
“We have girls with a wide variety of hockey experience but they come together and play successfully as a team,” says Hutson. Five are strictly HHS players, 10 also play for the Huntsville Sting, and one plays for both HHS and the boys’ house league.
Some of the Hoyas are new to the sport but are learning quickly with the support and encouragement of their teammates.
“The girls are all eager to learn and improve and they are extremely coachable and will do their part to support the success of the team,” says Hutson.
As a coach she loves to witness the little things that come together for the team during a game.
“When you are able as a coach to tell your players something on the bench and then watch them go right out onto the ice and do it, it is a very exciting feeling. With a team like that, I know we have so much potential to improve and that is what it is all about,” Hutson says.
A player that has stepped up as a leader for the team both on and off the ice is grade 10 student Abbi Huke. Huke has earned two hat tricks in two games for the Hoyas.
Coach Hutson says, “She has already made a big impact and I’m excited to see how far she will come in the next three years.”
The team is “a lot of fun to coach,” says Hutson. “I’m proud to be able to teach these girls the fundamentals of the game and excited to watch them succeed.”
She also gave a shout out to the team’s assistant coach, Jim Simpson, who is an asset to the team. Simpson is a parent volunteer and is also a part of the Sting association.
Hutson notes that the development and increasing popularity of the Huntsville Sting program is promising for girls hockey development in Muskoka.
“Girls are now choosing to stay local to play hockey and the quality of their play is improving,” she says. “This is exciting for high school hockey at HHS because there is a generation of female hockey players that have learned the game in Huntsville and are now starting to represent our town as Huntsville Hoyas as well. The future seems bright for Hoya hockey and girls hockey in Huntsville.”
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