Washtenaw United High School Girls' Hockey make their debut

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The cermonial face-off for the first season of the Washtenaw United High School Girls' Hockey team. photo by Carly Costello provided by Washtenaw United

November 5, 2020, marked a new beginning in local hockey as the Washtenaw United High School Girls' Hockey team played their first game in their inaugural season.

Although the season is now delayed by COVID restrictions, Washtenaw United looks to keep building upon what began with a ceremonial face off and a tough fought loss to Downriver United.

The team is made up of players from around the county outside of Ann Arbor. Currently, there are 13 players on the roster: 8 from Saline, 1 from Milan, 1 from Manchester, 2 from Dexter and 1 from Chelsea.

They are: Kathryn Winters, Julia Berkholz, Rylee Kennedy, Riley Malloy, Reese Caryl, Julia Scarcella, Sydney Clark, Raegan Kopitsch, Linzy Costello, Jillian Eggleston, Makenna Lupi, Cecilia Henriksen and Chloe Dillen.

The Washtenaw United High School Girls' Hockey team. photo by Carly Costello provided by Washtenaw United

Head Coach Adam Winters said Washtenaw United is a combined high school girls hockey team serving school districts outside of Ann Arbor (Milan, Lincoln, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, and Manchester).

Winters led the effort into forming the team with the help of Peggy Costello (Executive Director-AAAHA), as well as with Assistant Coaches Sue and Steve McDowell, Ray Kopitsch, Chad Clark, and Team Manager Sergio Scarcella.

“With the growth of high school girls hockey in southeast Michigan, Ann Arbor Area Hockey Association (AAAHA, based out of the AA Ice Cube), has had trouble putting teams together past the 14U level because the majority of players were playing for Pioneer High School or Skyline/Huron combined teams after leaving 14U,” Winters said.

He said Washtenaw United helps to fill “the void for players in the area outside of the Ann Arbor schools, giving them an option to play high school hockey close to home.”

For the first season of play, Washtenaw United is an 'affiliate' member of the Michigan Girls High School Hockey League. Winters said next season, they will apply for full-membership into the league and expect to be accepted. That will give them a full league schedule.

This year, they are playing most of the teams at least once in exhibition games, Winters said.

Most of the Washtenaw United players played T2 hockey in the AAAHA girls program.

Their first game was against Downriver United, which serves the Trenton Schools district. Washtenaw United lost 3 to 1. Reese Caryl scored the first goal in team history. The ceremonial face off was done by senior Linzy Costello.

The season is now on hold with the new order from the governor. Monday was their last practice for at least three weeks with the rinks temporarily closing.

However, the temporary stoppage will not stop the team and program as it looks to the future.

“We are always looking for new players, regardless of skill level/experience!” Winters said. “Eventually, we'd like to establish a developmental JV program to compliment the team.”

Unless told otherwise, Washtenaw United hopes to get back out on the ice on Dec. 8.

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