CHICAGO — The Blackhawks locker room is busting at the seams with pony tails and hot fuschia laces as a squad of young players prepares to take to the ice.
They're the first to join the new all-girl "Little Blackhawks" program, a first for girls so young their skates swing high above the bench at M.B. Ice Arena.
"Initially we thought, 'well, let's just see how this goes,'" Blackhawks Senior Director Annie Camins said. "We thought if we get 10 girls, fine. We actually got 20!"
The first session of the all-girls hockey program sold out immediately, organizers say. The league is put together in partnership with the Blackhawks, which donated all the gear the girls would need.
"We watch players like Kendall Coyne, and that makes my girls want to get out on the ice even more!" one mom said.
The new program has been such a hit that the franchise is already planning to add more spots to the league.
"We have this mantra in the office that 'hockey is for everyone,'" Camins said. "We truly believe that."