Ladies on Ice
With bone-jarring hits, lightning-fast skating, and even faster flying pucks, hockey is a game played with the aggression of scrapping pit bulls. Even with helmets and pads, players routinely limp back to their cars after the game, eager to nurse their wounds with ibuprofen and a stiff drink. You’d think such a brutal sport would be reserved for lumberjacks and firemen, but over the years, a strong female contingent has blossomed in Bozeman with the help of Bozeman Amateur Hockey League (BAHA). Currently standing around 60 women strong, these iron-tough ladies could probably beat you at arm wresting—alongside plenty of other activities. While the women play co-ed regularly, they travel to four or five tournaments as an all-women team every season.
“Historically women didn’t play hockey for a long time, but now it is becoming more popular. The women’s hockey games that we get to play are really fun and we’re always looking for more women to join,” says Julie Keck, the program coordinator for BAHA. For any women who are interested in getting involved with the sport, there’s an introductory class on Sunday afternoons. There’s a wide range in ability, so no one should be afraid to try it out. As with all of the co-ed hockey league in Bozeman, there’s no checking allowed in the women’s games. “It’s a common misconception that hockey is all about checking, but the absence of checking brings more finesse to the game,” explains Keck.
BAHA used to have a practice slot available to the women’s program, but as the adult program got bigger, there were fewer times available and the women lost their practice time. There are 500 skaters involved with BAHA and there is currently fundraising to build a second, larger ice arena. The BAHA women make a calendar every year, featuring pictures of the players scantily—yet tastefully—clad, available at Top Shelf Hockey, Play it Again Sports, Erotique, the Barber Shop, and online at baha.com. Half of the proceeds fund the women’s entry fees to tournaments and the other half goes to the Gallatin Ice Foundation, which is funding the building of the new ice rink.
While the women travel to tournaments throughout the winter, they hold a tournament of their own every year over St. Patrick’s Day weekend. This year marks the 8th Annual Get Lucky Cup, a women-only tournament held March 14-16, 2014. For more info, visit bozemanhockey.org.