Hockey teams compete for state title

Heidi Robitaille

The Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) Girls U19 House/Rec State Championship will be held in Marquette this weekend.

The tournament will start at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 2 and run all weekend, with face-off for the championship game at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 4 at Lakeview Arena in Marquette.

Teams come from all over the state to participate, including Mackinaw City, Manistique, Gladwin, Alpena and Chelsea. The Copper Country Junior Hockey Association will also have teams playing.

“Everyone is encouraged to attend,” said Mike Martin, tournament planning board member. “Players, parents, coaches and Marquette Junior Hockey board members have worked very hard to build a successful program.”

The girls playing in the tournament range in age from 15 to 19 years old and are part of the Girls U19 League.

“Students from Northern are from some of these towns, and they can come out and cheer for their teams,” Martin said. “They might even know some of the girls who play.”

The tournament is free to attend, and there will be fundraising in the form of 50/50 raffle drawings. Local businesses are supporting Marquette girls’ hockey by donating products, which can be won in the 50/50 raffles.

A pancake breakfast fundraiser for Marquette girls’ hockey program will be held from 8:15 to 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, March 3 at the Elks Lodge in Marquette. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased by calling Mike Martin at (906) 362-8212.

“The girls’ program is volunteer-built; people do it because they care about it,” Martin said. “It helps Marquette. It helps the girls.”

Marquette Senior High School has two teams playing in the tournament this weekend.

“For the two years I’ve been involved with girls’ hockey, I’ve seen the program grow and our players are getting better every year,” Martin said.

NMU senior surgical technology major Sarah Simmons plays on Northen Michigan’s women’s club hockey team and used to participate in the State Championship when she played Marquette Junior Hockey.

“The state tournament is something teams look forward to all year,” Simmons said. “In states, you meet the teams you love to hate and that you love to compete against.”

Simmons said the most exciting and challenging hockey is played on Sunday during the championships.

“I always enjoyed playing in the state tournament, because it’s where you got to show what your team had,” Simmons said. “It’s where you had the chance to gain the title of being the best hockey team in Michigan.”

For a complete schedule of the tournament and more information, visit www.mqthockey.org.