When Delta Junction is mentioned in conversation it’s impossible for hockey not to come up, it’s a ‘Hockey Town’ after all! Lifelong Delta resident Jacob White and friend Guy Lene have been quietly coaching a 10U girls team for the past couple months and for the first time in Delta’s history they presented an all girls team to the state at the 2022 Ponytail Invitational Tournament held in Anchorage.
The Ponytail is essentially a Girls version of the State Hockey Tournament where nearly 500 girls competed on 33 teams! This year was the tournaments largest attendance since its inception in 2011! Proof that Women’s hockey is on the rise at all levels!
The 10U Delta team kicked things off with a 5-3 win vs HCF (Hockey Club Fairbanks). Game two, an 8-2 win vs AHA (Anchorage Hockey Association). In game 3 they went up against the also undefeated Kenai Ice Hawks and took a 3-1 loss and had their eyes opened to some stiff competition. This group of girls has an impressive work ethic, they knew they had worked to hard in practice to let this tournament slip by without putting up a good fight!
Nikiski was their last game before a chance at the semifinal round and they won big, 10-0 vs Nikiski! The girls went to work and insured their spot in the semifinals!
Now in the semifinals it is win or go home and Delta is up against Homer who happens to be number one in their division. The young Delta girls took no notice to their division rank and beat the Homer skaters 7-0.
Minutes before stepping onto the ice for the championship game you could feel, see, and hear the excitement from the Delta girls and the many supporting parents and friends in the stands not to mention everyone back at home watching the live stream. We were up against the still undefeated Kenai Ice Hawks in the championship game, tension was high and the outcome far from certain.
Less than five minutes into the game the entire ice arena was in shock as Delta pulled into a 3-0 lead and they didn’t stop there! Every one of these girls played to a level no one had seen before, not even Coach White or Coach Lene. Sportsmanship, teamwork, defense, offense, and individual skills were all on point and as they continued to score the momentum built 4-0, 5-0, 6-0.
Delta won the championship with a final score of 7-0 and you better believe the crowd went wild at that final buzzer that had another goal scored just four seconds before it went off. As all the girls threw their sticks and gloves in the air and skated full speed at their goalie in celebration of the win and shutout, parents and fans stood clapping, cheering, whistling, and more than one shed a tear!
Three of Delta’s girls are only eight years old, another was a first year skater and the rest are first year 10U! You’ll hear the following names in the future of local hockey, Alaska hockey, perhaps college hockey, and ultimately as some of these girls have dreamed, Olympic Women’s Hockey.