Mustangs girls program hitting all-time high in New Mexico
The New Mexico Mustangs’ 19U team is maxed out at 20 girls players.
While that may sound like a generic fact, it is a sign of progress and growth for the girls game in the state, where the Mustangs also have near-full rosters on their 12U and 14U team, as well as with their 12U rec team.
“I think what is most exciting for us is that the majority of these girls have been with the program for the entire three years we have been in existence and have been a major part of the growth,” said Mustangs hockey director Jeff Schultz. “To be honest, I think we are responsible for about 90-95 percent of the building of girls hockey in the state, and we’re still growing.”
The three travel teams play in the Mountain States Girls Hockey League (MSGHL) and the rec team stays local. And while championship and wins and losses certainly matter to a degree, Schultz said there is more to the Mustangs than score sheets and statistics.
“We want to create memories for these kids, plain and simple,” said Schultz. “And really, the only team that ever remembers what year it was they won a championship is the team that won. These girls, they always talk about having fun in the hotel rooms, having fun on road trips, playing music in the locker room. That’s not to say hockey takes a back seat to all that because we always push the girls to play the game the right way, but the memories are what will always stand out.”
Former U.S. Olympian Lyndsey Fry has also taken note, helping out the Mustangs with summer camps and training sessions over the past few months.
Needless to say, the Mustangs are on an upward swing.
“It’s no longer about just surviving,” Schultz said. “Now we have that good spirit, that good equilibrium.”
— Matt Mackinder