USA Hockey Magazine

February 2019

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As the number of ACHA women's programs continue to grow, so to does the quality of players who have discovered a great way to continue playing the sport they love while furthering their education. hockey team. That is only just touching the base of how many great collegiate ACHA teams there are around the country." A n u m b e r o f A C H A a l u m n i h a v e a l s o g o n e o n t o c o m p et e i n w o m e n 's p r o f e s - sional leagues, including Paige Harrington (Penn State and UMass) who helped the Buffalo Beauts win the 2017 Isobel Cup as champions of the NWHL, and Cassie Dunn (Penn State) who now plays for the Connecticut Whale. Even with the strides the ACHA has made, spreading the word remains a challenge. "I am always shocked when people say they don't know about the ACHA. It does happen and it gives us the opportunity to talk up our league and let people know everything it has to offer," Mahoney said. As fan interest continues to slowly grow— many top programs draw large crowds—more schools have expressed interest in adding women's hockey to their ranks. The organization's profile grew in 2011 when USA Hockey began enlisting ACHA players to compete at the World University Games. The Americans hope to improve on bronze medals in 2013 and 2017 when the puck drops on this year's tournament in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. "These tournaments prove that the ACHA is not just 'club hockey ' and that we have highly committed, world-class athletes and coaches within our league that can compete at an international level," Ellis said. It also provides another opportunity for ACHA players to live out the dream of wearing the red, white and blue. "From my own personal experience there is nothing more satisfying than wearing your country's jersey across your chest and the sense of pride that comes along with it," Hannah said. P Joe Paisley is a freelance writer from Colorado Springs, Colo. FEBRUARY 2019 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM // 13 THE 2019 ACHA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR MEN'S DIVISIONS I-III AND WOMEN'S DIVISIONS I AND II WILL BE PLAYED AT THE DR PEPPER ARENA IN FRISCO, TEXAS, AS WELL AS ADDITIONAL DR PEPPER STARCENTER FACILI- TIES, FROM MARCH 21-31.

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