Hitting the ice with girl power

By Perry Russom

September 28, 2013 Updated Sep 30, 2013 at 12:02 PM EDT

Town of Dickinson, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Max Smirnoff never thought he'd be lacing up hockey skates for his 6-year-old daughter.

"I wasn't even hoping that my daughter would get into it because hockey wasn't really a sport for girls in Russia," said Smirnoff.

He grew up playing hockey in Russia, but now, it's his daughter's turn to hit the rink.

She was one of the dozens of girls trying out hockey at SUNY Broome Saturday evening.

It was a way for the girls to test the sport before making any commitments.

"This is a whole different mentality once these girls get out here," said Mike Rogers, vice president of the Binghamton Blizzard Girls' Hockey Association.

Rogers said says they'll have nearly 80 girls playing this year.

"Obviously the closer you get to the Canadian border, the more it becomes a bit of a religion up there, but down here, it's really grown in popularity a bit," said Rogers.

"It's a fun sport and it's fun to watch," said Haleigh Cleveland, a member of the Binghamton Blizzard team.

Current team members laced up their skates to help the dozens of new players and gave them pointers along the way.

"(Girls) come and watch us play and see how fun it is and they wanna try," said Alexandra McDonnell.

Working her way across the ice was Sharon McGuinness' daughter Teagan.

She's 5 years old, and Sharon says this is her first hockey experience.

"I'm very excited for her," said McGuinness, of Endwell. "I just really want her to have a good time and enjoy it and build her self confidence."

Rogers predicts the number of Blizzard players should be able to reach 120 in the next few years.

Click here for more information on the Binghamton Blizzard