CHICAGO (CBS) — On Wednesday, the Blackhawks will begin their quest for their fourth Stanley Cup title in seven years, but they aren’t the only hockey powerhouse in the Chicago area. The Chicago Mission program, based in Woodridge, has produced numerous boys’ state and national titles through the years. As Megan Mawicke reports, this year the Mission girls’ teams are stealing the show.
Mission accomplished. Four girl’s hockey teams, and all four won Illinois state titles this year. Mission Hockey has become one of nation’s premier girls’ hockey programs.
“As a club it’s very huge for us,” said Dakota Golde, a St. Lawrence recruit. “We’re very excited.”
And don’t tell them it’s just a sport for boys, especially Tatum Skaggs, who drives from Madison, Wisconsin three times a week just for practice.
“All the coaches here really care about you and they’re here to make you into better people,” said Skaggs, an Ohio State recruit. “We compete at such a high level. It’s worth the drive for me.”
Their secret? Mission treats the girls the same as the boys: just as good ice time, equipment and training. Since the girls’ program started in 2007, they have 65 Division-I commitments.
“Now girls are taking it over because they get that hard sense — yes, I can do what a boy can, and yes, sometimes I can do it better,” said Bridget Wagner, who is committed to play at Augsburg College.
“I love the physical aspect of it,” Golde said. “Being the girls it’s not the typical princesses, and so it’s something different for girls.”
This program has turned out three Olympians and 15 players on the national team, including Kendall Coyne and Megan Bozak. That’s an inspiration to these girls, knowing they once laced up the exact same skates.
“I’ve been around it for 15 years now and it’s changed dramatically,” Mission coach Tony Cachey said. “Girls hockey now is every bit as competitive. These Division I scholarships, they don’t just hand them out.”
“Our girls do it better than anyone else, and we’re really proud of that,” said Mission program director Gino Cavallini. “We can only look to the future and see those aspiring athletes walking into the building. When they leave they’re going on to college at no cost.”