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About WWFHA

Overview

WWFHA Washington Wild

Prospects preparing to take the ice at tryouts

Western Washington Female Hockey Association (WWFHA) – Washington Wild - is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), volunteer-run association dedicated to promoting girls’ ice hockey and developing female players in the US Pacific Northwest.

WWFHA’s commitment to girls’ hockey is 100% - focusing on the players, their goals, development, and hockey dreams. WWFHA is a member of USA Hockey, Pacific Northwest Amateur Hockey Association (PNAHA),  and the Canadian Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association (PCAHA).

History

Western Washington Female Hockey Association (WWFHA) was established in 2002 when previous all-girl teams in the youth/boys’ ice hockey associations ended. A group of dedicated parents desiring a place for their daughters to play ice hockey started WWFHA with three teams – 12U, 14U and 19U.

As the association has grown, several distinct teams have been created to support the age and ability levels:

  •  8U Team
  • 10U Team
  • 12U/14U House Team
  • 12U Rep Tier 2/AA Team
  • 14U Rep Tier 2/AA Team - Nationally bound
  • 19U Rep Tier 3/A Team
  • 19U Rep Tier 2/AA Team - Nationally bound

In the last ten years, WWFHA has transitioned from a recreational club providing girls an opportunity to play ice hockey to an association aiming to meet the competitive and recreational goals of each and every female hockey player.

WWFHA is a member of USA Hockey, Pacific Northwest Amateur Hockey Association (PNAHA), and the prestigious Canadian Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association (PCAHA) female division.

The Washington Wild have 8 PCAHA Championship titles and many tournament championship honors; the 19U Tier 2/AA team has competed at USA Hockey Nationals and Districts for years, and the 14U Tier 2/AA recently joined them.

WWFHA restructured to provide a well-rounded offering to its members, both recreationally and competitively, by providing an avenue for growth and development tailored specifically for girls and the female game. With on-ice skills and systems as the priorities, WWFHA also now offers additional services in conditioning, training, nutrition, balanced well-being and the collegiate process.

Today, WWFHA is the only girls' hockey association in the Pacific Northwest, and we give girls the opportunity to play on all-girl teams, regardless of ability or experience.

Mission

WWFHA's mission is to empower girls to skate and play ice hockey thus promoting healthy lifestyles for more productive, healthy and happy lives.

Per the the Women’s Sports Foundation, girls participating in sports are more likely to:

  • earn better grades in and graduate from school,
  • demonstrate higher self-confidence and less depression,
  • maintain better body images and psychological states of well-being,
  • reduce the risk of osteoporosis and breast cancer by up to 60%,
  • learn about teamwork, goal-setting and the pursuit of excellence in performance
  • and learn about achievement-oriented behaviors—critical skills necessary for success in the workplace. 

 

Goals

WWFHA is an all-girl hockey association focused on long-term development rather than on short-term success. Our goals are to:

  • Provide an opportunity for female players to play all-girl hockey at recreational and competitive levels.
  • Retain and develop a pool of players who are able to compete at local, state, and national levels.
  • Create a supportive and positive girl-centric environment for learning the techniques, systems and strategies of the female hockey game.
  • Develop on-ice skills, off-ice conditioning, well-body practices, positive thinking, goal-orientated behaviors, and the knowledge of the collegiate process as players progress through the WWFHA program and system.
  • ‚ÄčInstill hard work and dedication while having fun and fostering a love of the game.
  • Showcase the talents of players to NCAA varsity and ACHA non-varsity hockey scouts.
  • Equip female players with the tools and training to compete at the national and collegiate levels.

Philosophy

WWFHA’s philosophy is based on long-term development, not short-term success. Our program is carefully crafted to develop players in the female game in preparation for high levels of hockey, with female learning styles and methodologies in mind. Short term success, such as win-loss records and similar stats, are secondary to game-by-game, month-by-month, season-by-season individual growth and development.

With over ten years as an organization and well over 100 years of combined experience in coaching and managing organizations, the WWFHA leadership team’s philosophy will stand the test of time and drive the campaign for growth and development of female hockey in the Pacific Northwest.

WWFHA’s philosophy is to establish a steady organization that plans for the future and provides the best development opportunities at each age and ability level, as dictated by numbers and interest.

Long-term efforts with successful impact:

  • Establishing teams that last many years. As players come and go they cycle through being new to a team and being team leaders. Younger players will start setting goals based upon particular teams and leadership roles.
  • Attending tournaments as regularly rostered teams. Tournament-only teams were very common in the late 1990’s and 2000’s until college coaches noted the overall lack of development and reduced numbers of skilled players engendered by this practice. All players will thrive and develop in the context of their own team in a tournament environment.
  • Keeping age and ability levels as appropriate as possible. Players in an appropriate skill level develop more thoroughly and soundly. For example, a player on an appropriate team will receive a lot of playing time in many situations, whereas a player who ‘plays up’ receives less playing time and little situational play as older, more skilled players are given that ice time. Thus, they will struggle to develop in addition to risking greater potential for injury.
  • Looking for consistent improvement each game and over the season rather than at the win-loss column. Assessing a team on their win-loss stats, especially at younger ages and when girls play in all-boys’ leagues is like comparing apples and oranges. Be aware of player improvement from game-to-game and over the entire season vs. their season statistics. Moreover, look at the health and attitude of the team. Healthy, happy players who have lost many games but focus on teamwork and fun will develop more and remain in the game longer than players who are winning but are pressured and statistic-driven.

Short-term strategies are enticing, especially when one is focused on ‘winning it all’ versus the overall development of the player; however, they have been proven to be detrimental to players and programs in the long run. Moreover, they are discouraged by the top hockey experts--scouts and women’s NCAA collegiate coaches--across North America (read article: Advice from the Experts).

 

The WWFHA System / Process

WWFHA has established a very specific process for female individual and team growth and development based on a wealth of experience in female ice hockey. Players gain most from this process when joining the association early.

Each team is centered on a curriculum that is age and talent-specific to promote each player through the WWFHA system.

  • 8U House Team
    • Skating and hockey skills
    • Respect for the game and all participants
  • 10U House Team
    • Skating and hockey skills
    • Introduction to sports goal setting and visualization
    • Respect for the game and all participants
  • 14U/12U House Team
    • Skating and hockey skills
    • Introduction to hockey systems
    • Introduction to sports goal setting and visualization
    • Respect for the game and all participants
  • 14U Rep Tier 2/AA Team
    • Refine skating and hockey skills
    • Basic hockey systems
    • Basic sports goal setting and visualization
    • Initiate thoughts of collegiate play (NCAA or ACHA)
    • Mental focus and toughness
    • Time management
    • Respect and passion for the game
  • 19U Rep Tier 3/A Travel Team
    • Improve skating and hockey skills
    • Broaden knowledge of hockey systems and counter systems
    • Off-ice conditioning
    • Improve goal setting, visualization and successful thinking techniques
    • Organize and prepare to play collegiately for NCAA or ACHA
    • Mental toughness, respect and passion for the game
  • 19U Rep Tier 2/AA Team
    • Perfecting skating and hockey skills - strength, control, accuracy
    • Mastering hockey systems and counter systems
    • Peak physical fitness
    • Proficient at goal setting, visualization and successful thinking techniques
    • Knowledge of the collegiate recruiting process and showcasing
    • Proactively focus on preparing for college and playing collegiately for the NCAA or ACHA
    • Mental toughness, respect and passion for the game

A Growing Organization - A Vision For the Future

WWFHA aims to consolidate female hockey players in the Pacific Northwest to establish the critical mass necessary for driving growth, development and the level of play in a rapid manner such that the Northwest will catch up and keep up with the rest of the country.

WWFHA’s vision for the future is to keep more girls in the game, increase the numbers of girls playing ice hockey, and be the premier place in the Northwest to play -- with two or more teams at every age group.

WWFHA believes that a firm foundation is critical in reaching its goals of providing more opportunities at every level and age group.  WWFHA is ready and willing to expand to more teams at each age group as soon as the numbers and interest justify growth.

WWFHA continuously works with local boys’ associations to build girls' hockey in the following ways:

  • Female players in Washington State are allowed to double roster  on both a boys’ and a girls’ team per PNAHA Rule #17; which has been proven to accelerate development (the more touches to the puck and ice time equates to quicker growth). Typically this occurs at the younger ages, as the Rep teams playing in the Canadian PCAHA Female Division have an  already full schedule.
  • Boys’ associations are providing a place for young female players to play co-ed hockey and offering occasional practices on all-girl ‘development’ teams with a tournament experience at the end of the season.
  • Boys’ associations are sending female players to WWFHA when they choose to play all-girl hockey, typically at the age of 11, 12, 13 or 14 years old.

Meanwhile, WWFHA will continue to provide the following teams with their structured curriculum for female players to progress through the association and to the next level.

In the near future, WWFHA hopes to provide a House and a Rep team at each age level, while we partner with other associations to encourage female players to stay in the game – whether playing boys or all-girl hockey.

WWFHA continues to be the premiere place in Washington State for female hockey players, providing a solid foundation and process to attain the next level, as well as a fantastic hockey, learning, and growing experience – helping each player reach their hockey dreams.