All-women’s hockey team in search of a name |

All-women’s hockey team in search of a name

Chris Wellhausen/Tahoe TribuneDana Dapolito works on breakaways with goalie Nicole Vidro last Friday at South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena.

Those aren’t hockey mullets poking out from underneath the bottom of helmets on South Shore’s first all-women’s hockey team; they’re genuine pony tails, locks of long hair, often tied up or bundled in the back to keep from getting in the way.

From a distance, it’s one of the few characteristics separating the women’s hockey team from the rest of the pack in adult hockey, which is dominated by men.

The team, which doesn’t yet have a name, is slowly piecing together players in anticipation of the day when it will play against other all-women hockey teams from Reno, Sacramento and San Francisco.

The group is forming an organization called the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Ice Hockey Association, and they’re looking for players — no experience is necessary.

Hockey physical education courses at Lake Tahoe Community College have helped some women get involved. The Ice Arena, as well, supported the formation of a women’s hockey team starting last summer by lowering ice-time fees.

The women’s team broke away from the Ice Arena this season to form its own organization. They say it will be easier to make their own decisions and schedule games and tournaments with other teams.

They now have to pay full ice time fees, so they’re looking for sponsors, which may be a part of why they’re still seeking a name.

But the team has come a long way in a short amount of time thanks to Ice Arena support, LTCC and player participation.

“It’s a a great opportunity. It really teaches you the fundamentals,” said Meyers resident Kristine Leep, 32, of the hockey course at LTCC. “It’s all about spending more time on the ice. Skating is expensive. Any opportunity you can get to be on the ice helps. And it’s helpful to learn from different people, too.”

The team now includes about 15 players, including two goalies, which is more than some men’s teams.

Tentatively, the team is looking toward the end of February to take on the Silver Rush of Reno.

“We’re in our baby stages for certain. But the basic premise of this is to grow women’s hockey, at least give them somewhere to go … This is a jumping off point,” said Dana Dapolito, 33, of Stateline.

Jeff Merrill, who plays for the SD’s in the men’s hockey league, volunteered to coach the team.

“When we first started, there were some shaky knees,” Merrill said. “When I first mention the word ‘game’ they looked at me like I had five heads.”

But now that the team is growing, the probability of seeing their first game is becoming reality.

The team may soon look to the adult league for game time and, if they can raise the support, travel to Vancouver at the end of May for a tournament. It’s a hefty goal, but the team has already come a long way in a hurry.

“It’s just amazing how much we’ve progressed in a short amount of time. I think we have the potential to do well,” Leep said.

The team practices on Friday at 5:15 p.m. at South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena. Anyone interested in playing, should show up, or contact Julianne Wilson at or by phoning (530) 544-4807.

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