WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Peyton Hockaday, 13, found her passion for hockey at a young age when she started playing in-line hockey in second grade. But when her organization fell through and the program stopped she decided to try ice hockey instead.
Wilmington doesn’t have an all girls hockey team, so Peyton has to play on an all boys team, which can single her out from time to time. She has to get dressed in the party room by herself while the boys get all four of the Wilmington Ice House locker rooms.
“I’ll be in this room and have to get dressed by myself. It’s kind of lonely," Peyton says.
Her father, Paul Hockaday, is aiming to change that. After Peyton got involved with ice hockey last year, he noticed she had no choice but to play on the all boys team because there wasn’t another option. Paul is a realtor and contributes a portion of his commission to go towards creating an all girls hockey team. It was an idea that was sparked after he watched the success of the USA Women’s Hockey team.
It’s been a year long project that has gained a lot of traction.
“This evening, we have almost 60 registered participants in our first time ever Wilmington all girls try hockey for free event,"Paul says.
No father wants to see his daughter get hurt but it’s something that Paul has to endure. At 13 years old, hockey players are now able to “check” other players. Basically known as a defensive technique that could lead to an injury.
“To have a 14 year old, 180 pound boy check my daughter is kind of difficult to watch," Paul says.
Paul’s dream goes way beyond just creating Wilmington’s first all girls hockey team.
“The hope is that we’ll have support from Raleigh," Paul says, “Hopefully the Carolina Hurricanes will be able to help us out with that.”
But for now, Peyton continues to prove she is able to hang with the boys.
The Wilmington “All Girls Try Hockey for Free” event took place Saturday at the Wilmington Ice House from 4:15p.m. to 5:15 p.m..