Lady Coyotes’ Big Sister/Little Sister program makes memories
Starting in 2014, the Arizona Lady Coyotes implemented a Big Sister/Little Sister program where younger players were paired up with older players to be role models within the organization.
The program was so successful that it continues in 2015.
“It’s for the younger girls to have someone to call for whatever they need,” Lady Coyotes secretary and 19U team manager Diane Mroczek said. “To have their Big Sister there shows them a lot of support.”
The Big Sisters are mentors in and out of hockey. Whether it is help with hockey skills, school work, or general advice for the younger girls’ personal lives, the Big Sisters are there to help along the way.
Mroczek said the program gives the older girls an opportunity to teach and be a positive influence.
“When you teach something, you get a better understanding for it yourself,” Mroczek said.
The program was set up last season by the Lady Coyotes, who had a house team for the younger girls in Gilbert. The Big Sisters came to the Little Sisters’ games, cheering them on, and participating in events together.
Now in her second year with the Lady Coyotes, 12U player Kyra Mittendorf believes the program has been beneficial to her team.
“The Big Sisters help the Little Sisters learn all aspects of the game,” Mittendorf said. “They are really sweet and nice and they want to help us become better hockey players. It’s nice to know there is someone who is looking out for me, other than my coach or my parents.”
Lady Coyotes 12U head coach Natalie Rossi said she was a part of a mentorship program in college and it helped her to have a “big sister.”
“With this program, I explained to the older girls that they have to help the younger players with anything they need,” Rossi said. “The Big Sisters are only a few years older, so it’s easy for them to help the younger ones with stuff like homework because the subjects are still fresh in their minds.”
This year, the mentorship program also had a ceremony for the Little Sisters to receive their official Lady Coyotes red jerseys, along with words of encouragement and inspiration, from their respective Big Sisters,
“There is not a lot of role models for the younger girls, especially in the hockey world,” Rossi said. “But with this program, they say ‘I want to be like my Big Sister’ and stay with the Lady Coyotes.”
For 19U player Jamie Horowitz, there is a certain honor being a Big Sister.
“I think the opportunity to help the younger girls not only on the ice, but off of it as well, is amazing,” Horowitz said. “I remember being younger and getting a chance to look up to someone and getting to know them. It was one of my favorite parts of the season.”
The inspiration that the girls get also has an impact on the older players.
“There is a bond that forms when you have a Little Sister that you can spend time with and talk about different things with than you usually would since you’re not the same age.” Horowitz said. “I personally am so excited to get to know my Little Sister and hopefully, form the same bond I had with my mentors from when I was younger.”
Photo – Arizona Lady Coyotes 19U player Jamie Horowitz relishes her time in the Big Sister role with her Little Sister, 12U player Grace Mastorakos.
— Katy Wolpoff