In a world where young dreams hold infinite possibilities, an 8-year-old girl who loved to skate found her way to the Tampa Bay Lightning Girls Hockey League to leave her mark on the ice.
Alyson Hobbs, a focused and flourishing young player, is among other skillful teammates who showcase the boundless potential of girls in the realm of hockey. Under the guidance and mentorship of some of the world’s most exceptional athletes, Alyson is a shining example of the impact that strong role models have on the future of females in Tampa Bay sports.
How did you first become interested in playing hockey?
Alyson Hobbs: My dad took me ice skating one afternoon and I had so much fun so I asked to start taking skating lessons. My mom and dad have always been big Lightning fans, and I decided I wanted to try to play hockey.
I learned first by attending a Girls Only Summer Camp hosted by Lightning Hockey Development (which is happening again this month). Then, I played two sessions of Rookie League before joining the first-ever season with the Girls Only Recreation League this past year. My coaches have helped me become a better player and more confident overall.
What do you enjoy most about being part of a girls’ hockey team?
Alyson Hobbs: I have a lot of friends on my team. Everyone is so kind and helps each other out when we need it. The coaches are all very nice and make it fun for us. It is nice to have a group of girls that understand the hard parts about playing hockey.
Can you tell us about your favorite moment or memory from playing hockey so far?
Alyson Hobbs: My favorite moment playing hockey so far is scoring my first goal in a game. I loved hearing everyone cheer from the stands!
Another favorite moment was being the Lightning Thunderkid during a Tampa Bay Lightning game in January. I was so nervous skating on the ice in front of a full arena of over 19,000 fans. I even got to have a quick chat with some of the players while Pat Maroon helped me take off my helmet.
Mom’s note: Two other defining moments for Alyson included her first understanding that this sport has the possibility to be a long-term option for her. Her coach played at the collegiate and professional levels in addition to being a 3-time World Champion with Team USA.
Then in February 2023, the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA), which includes some of the best women’s players in the United States and Canada, played six games over the weekend in Tampa Bay. Alyson had the opportunity to skate with the team on the ice to carry the team flag and stand beside them during the national anthem.
Is there a particular skill or move in hockey that you’re proud of learning?
Alyson Hobbs: I’m proud of how far I’ve come with my skating. I learned how to do a mohawk (heels close together, toes out to skate/ turn in a circular motion) recently and that was really fun. I try to learn a new skating skill every time I get on the ice.
Are there any professional women hockey players who inspire you? Why?
Alyson Hobbs: I was lucky to meet and be on the ice with a lot of women’s hockey players during the PWHPA weekend in February. My favorite women’s hockey player is my coach, Kelley Steadman. She played many years professionally and even won gold with the US Women’s National Team. I really look up to her and hope to play at a high level like she did.
What would you say to other girls who are interested in playing hockey but may feel hesitant?
Alyson Hobbs: Just get out there and try your best. It’s going to be hard at first but it will get easier as you keep learning. It’s okay to fall and fail, keep getting up and try again. I have fallen way more than I’ve scored goals.
What do you like to do outside of playing hockey?
Alyson Hobbs: I enjoy collecting Pokémon cards, playing video games on my computer, art projects, swimming at my grandparents’ house, riding my bike and spending time with family and pets. One other thing that’s cool that I do is I’m a brand ambassador for POWR Hockey, which is a company that was started by two hockey moms. POWR Hockey has pink and teal hockey sticks made for girls and women.
Originally published in July 2023 of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.