TROY, Mich. -- Advancing to the USA Hockey National Championships is an amazing accomplishment, but to do it in back to back years is a whole other level success.
That is exactly what the Pennsylvania Steel City Selects 16U girls have achieved this year. In fact, the Steel City Selects organization have three teams playing at the 2017 USA Hockey Girls Tier II National Championships for a second straight year, as the 14U and the 19U squads also hope to bring back a national title to Pennsylvania.
The Troy Sports Center in Troy, Michigan, is hosting the event this year and the 16U level has twelve teams battling for the hardware.
“We have been fortunate to send all three teams the past two years,” said Head Coach John Mudrany. “It makes for a good experience for the girls.”
This year’s team is a young group with five 14-year-olds, eleven 15-year-olds and only two players that are 16. With such a young team, the goal at the start of the season was to finish at the .500 level, which the girls surpassed easily. Now they hope for a second shot at winning nationals, after a disappointing loss last year in the quarterfinal game.
Mudrany says girls’ hockey in Pennsylvania is on the upswing.
“I think the talent is very good in the area,” said Mudrany, who has been with the Steel City Selects organization for the past three years. “The girls’ hockey program is growing in our district, which is the Mid-American district, which in addition to Pennsylvania, includes teams from Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.”
Steel City Selects has two hockey players that are sisters. Meghan Callahan is a forward who plays on the 19U team, and Lauren is a defenseman with the 16U squad.
Hockey is the sport Lauren takes most seriously, and when both sisters are together, either at home or on their way to a game, it’s all they talk about.
“I started playing hockey at a very young age when I lived in Minnesota, because in Minnesota all they do is play hockey,” said Lauren, 14. “I love to play hockey, it’s fast and I like a sport that has that kind of competition.”
Lauren describes her style of play as that of a stay-at-home defenseman with an offensive upside. Although the two sisters don’t really give each other advice when it comes to playing, they both have a passion for the sport.
Meghan started as a figure skater before turning to hockey. “I had friends that played hockey and they told me to give it a try, so I did and I have been playing ever since,” said Meghan, 17. “Lauren and I have played together on the same team when we were younger. We give each other support. When she plays, I will come to the games and cheer her on and she does the same for me as well.”
Mudrany says the 16U team is a great group of girls who are very close and get along with each other very well both on and off the ice. “It’s tough at this age with home life, school, and hockey but these girls are very committed,” said Mudrany. “On the ice, they give it their all and the success they have had as been well-earned, I am so proud of them.”
With the success of the team making the rounds in the area, interest has peaked and there are a lot of girls who would like to be part of the team and the Steel City Selects organization.
“Making nationals back to back have made our phones a little bit busier,” said Mudrany. “The girls want to be part of our success and our winning reputation is getting noticed. It’s like the saying says, ‘Build it and they will come.’”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc
|Youth Tier I (14U)||Scottsdale, Arizona||Arizona Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier I (15-year-olds only)||Scottsdale, Arizona||Arizona Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier I (16U, 18U)||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||Pittsburgh Penguins Elite||April 6-10, 2017|
|Girls Tier I||Rochester/Macomb, Michigan||HoneyBaked Hockey Club||April 6-10, 2017|
|Women's A, B, C||Rochester/Macomb, Michigan||HoneyBaked Hockey Club||April 6-9, 2017|
|High School||Cleveland, Ohio||Cleveland Suburban Hockey||March 22-26, 2017|
|Girls Tier II||Troy, Michigan||Troy Youth Hockey Association||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (14U)||Coral Springs, Florida||Florida Panthers Ice Den||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (16U)||Frisco, Texas||Texas Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (18U)||Lansing, Michigan||Lansing Hockey Club||April 6-10, 2017|
|Sled||San Jose, California||Sharks Ice||April 6-9, 2017|
|Adult Rec Men's||Wesley Chapel, Florida||Florida Hospital Center Ice||April 20-23, 2017|
|Adult Rec Women's||Ellenton, Florida||Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex||April 27-30, 2017|