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Women’s Hockey Overview

The history of Ice Hockey can be traced back to ancient Egypt.  That sounds crazy, since there is no natural ice in Egypt.  However, there are carvings over 4000 years that show teams using curved sticks and balls.  In the 19th century, Ice Hockey, a variation of Field Hockey was developed in Canada.  The first indoor game was played in Montreal in 1875!

With this long history, women in Minneapolis did not have organized high school teams until the 1990’s.  Between 1973 and 1995, women played on the men’s team at their school.  In the fall of 1995 (1995-1996 school year) women finally were able to play on their own team in Minneapolis.  There was one problem however.  The seven schools in Minneapolis did not have enough interest for each of them to field their own team.  Because of this, it was decided that Minneapolis would field one team and they would be known as the Novas.

On Tuesday November 14, 1995 the Minneapolis Novas played their first hockey game defeating Hopkins 11-1 at the Minnetonka Ice Arena. The Star Tribune reporter covering the game, Roman Augustoviz, estimated the crowd to be between 250 and 300 people. The first puck was dropped by Lisa Lissimore, an associate director of the Minnesota State High School League. The Novas were one of 22 new teams that season--girls hockey began as a varsity sport the year before.

It took the Novas 42 seconds to score as Barton eighth grader Hannah Coleman found the back of the net with a shot from about 10 feet out on the right side. "It all happened really fast," Coleman told Augustoviz, "We played well, and I really was excited. I probably won't be able to sleep tonight."

South freshman co-captain Gretchen Anderson led the team with 4 goals and an assist. The assist came on a goal by eighth grader Vanessa Miller at 2:26 of the first period.  Anderon told the Star Tribune "It really helped to score early. It got everybody going. We were looking forward to this for a long time."

Anderson and Coleman, along with four other teammates, played on a peewee team that just missed qualifying for the state tournament last season.

It was a good thing the Novas scored 6 goals in the first period as there was concern about how their newly converted goalie, South sophomore Christine Bahnemann, would do one day after putting goalie pads on for the first time. Bahnemann, a soccer goalie, volunteered to play after the regular goalie quit the team. After facing no shots in the first period she made two saves in the second, one of them on a breakaway. Hopkins finally scored with 4:30 left in the game. After the game Bahnemann told Augustoviz "It [the first period] was boring. Then it got more exciting. I was kind of happy they got [a goal]. Their fans wanted one so much."

Augustoviz wrote that the crowd applauded late in the second period when Novas defender Joanna Smith collided with Hopkins forward Katie Carlson and knocked her down. The Novas also were penalized twice for having "too many girls on the ice."

"We wanted to hear how they would announce it," Novas’ head coach Mary Brown jokingly told the Star Tribune. "This is such a milestone thing . . . We've coached so long and hard, and then there was getting uniforms and a team name. And this is just the start."

***Thanks to the Novas’ website for much of the above information

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