Just like one of the boys
Underneath all her hockey equipment, 9-year-old Tori Holland of West Fargo looks just like one of the boys. But her pink gloves, pink skate laces, pink duffel bag and the pink tape on her hockey stick remind spectators that she's not. She's a gir...
Underneath all her hockey equipment, 9-year-old Tori Holland of West Fargo looks just like one of the boys.
But her pink gloves, pink skate laces, pink duffel bag and the pink tape on her hockey stick remind spectators that she's not.
She's a girl and proud of it. She just plays hockey with the boys, and she's darn good at it, too.
"I like to show people that there's a girl on the team," says Holland. "The pink equipment is my trademark."
Tori plays for the Mites 3 White team. She's one of four girls on the roster.
Her coach, Greg Stromme, who played hockey at Detroit Lakes, Minn., during his high school career, likes what he sees in Holland.
"She's a good defensive player," says Stromme. "She holds her own with the boys. She's one of our better players."
Stromme, who has three kids of his own playing hockey, says the thing he likes most about Tori is her attitude.
"She's probably the toughest cookie on our team," says Stromme. "It's because of her attitude. She comes out and plays tough. She's not going to let anyone push her around."
Tori is the youngest child of Sam and Keith Holland and is in the fourth grade at Eastwood Elementary School in West Fargo.
She's been skating and playing hockey since she was 5.
"She's been pretty much a rink rat since she was very little," says her mother, a human resources and training specialist at DMI Industries Inc. in West Fargo. "I think she's always looked up to her older brother, Cameron, and is following in his footsteps."
Brother Cameron, 12, a seventh-grader at Cheney Middle School, is a goalie on the Pee Wee "A" team. He's also been playing hockey since he was 5.
There are 15 kids on Tori's team. "If they need someone to take control of a situation, they send Tori out there," says her mother. "She takes care of business. She's a very physical player and a very determined child."
Tori could be playing for an all-girls team, but she likes playing with the boys.
"You learn more in boys hockey," she says. "I try out every year for the team and I'm getting better every year. I've met a lot of friends through hockey and really had fun."
Her teammates don't treat her like she's a girl, says Sam Holland. To them, she's just another member of the team.
Families who are part of the hockey scene spend a great deal of time and money on the sport.
It can be a year-round thing, says Sam, who is the manager of her daughter's team. If they aren't practicing, they're playing games or traveling to tournaments. They play all winter and attend hockey camps in the summertime.
Take Stromme and his wife, Laurie, for instance. Gage, 9, is on a Mites White team, Kennedy, 10, is on a 10 and Under team, and Maleah, 6, plays on a Termite team.
"Both sides of the family love sports," says Stromme, a graduate of St. John's University who works for Applied Engineering.
"We let our kids know that we want them in sports year-around," says Stromme. "We all love it. It's our entertainment."
"We're hockey diehards," says Sam, who also served on the West Fargo Association board for two years.
Cameron broke his leg last season, but Tori, knock on wood, has avoided injury in a rugged sport.
She plans to keep playing as long as she can, she says.
"I won't lose interest," says Tori. "I hope to play for the junior varsity and varsity teams someday."
She'll be easy to spot. She'll be the one in the pink gloves with the pink tape on her stick.
Readers can reach Terry DeVine at (701) 241-5515 or email@example.com