Blue Jackets all-girls hockey day has Olympians teach skills to youngsters

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Cordie Canterbury is eight years old, but she’s already been playing hockey for four years.

“We took her ice skating down in Texas during Christmas, and she took to the ice really well,” explained Cordie’s dad, Andrew.

It didn’t take long for Cordie to want to get back on the ice when they got back home to West Virginia.

“I took her to a rink in Charleston, which is about 45 minutes from us, and they had a sign on the door that said, ‘Girls learn to play hockey’ and we’ve been playing ever since,” he said.

So on Saturday morning, Cordie and her Dad got up at 4:45 to first, drive from their home in Huntington, West Virginia, to Athens, Ohio, for two hockey games. Then, they made their way to Columbus for the Blue Jackets Girls Hockey Day Clinic in the afternoon.

“It’s awesome,” said Cordie. “I get to block some shots and have fun and make new friends.”

Cordie and about 60 other girls took the ice to learn the game’s tips and tricks from two Olympians: 2010 silver medalist Lisa Chesson, and 2010 and 2014 silver medalist Kelli Stack.

“Each year there’s more exposure,” said Chesson, who also played college hockey for Ohio State. “So you see more girls and women signing up for the game, so it’s just awesome to see.”

And for the young girls, it’s awesome to share the ice with a couple of role models.

“This is probably the best day ever!” exclaimed 11-year-old Izabel Pinson. “This is just crazy! Only girls hockey and there are Olympic winners here.”

“To know that I have someone to look up to and to know that they’ve been through stuff that I’ve been through and to know they’ve been to the Olympics is nice,” added Cordie.

It’s the fourth year that the Blue Jackets have put on this clinic, but it’s the first time that Ohio native Stack has been involved.  

“Hopefully, within the next few years, there will be a sustainable professional women’s league and that starts at the youth age,” Stack explained. “You’ve got to have the opportunities there for young girls to be able to play and grow up and to see someone like Hilary Knight or Amanda Kessel or someone like that, that they can strive to be like when they grow up.”

Cordie said she hasn’t gotten much ice time lately while her local rink is closed, so she was extremely happy to lace up the skates and strap on the pads, but it was even better to spend some extra time on the ice doing what she loves alongside other girls who share her passion.

“It’s awesome because I play on a co-ed team and it’s amazing to know that there’s this many girls that play hockey!” she said.  

“I’m super proud,” said Andrew with a smile. “I mean, all the time it amazes me. If you had told me this 10 years ago I would’ve said you’re lying. She’s playing hockey — it amazes me.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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