HELENA — Emma Patera and the her teammates on the 14U Helena Bighorns girls hockey team are 12-0 and have remained undefeated this season, with every girl on the team being able to feel what it’s like to score a goal in a real game.
“We’re just some girls who love Hockey and want to play," said Patera a 12-year-old defensemen. "After my first season I was loving it and just stuck with it and started trying out for different teams.”
“We’re undefeated and we’re definitely getting way better than we (were) last season,” added Patera.
Bighorns coach Billie Hohn created the all-area, all-girls program less than three years ago.
“A lot of hard work," Hohn said. "I have two other coaches helping me, and they're just super great, but these girls really work hard and they’re really perceptive to the coaching and I think it’s super great that we have an all-girls squad.
"These girls are super, super skilled. We have a few new ones this year, but they're catching on quickly. They all have goals now and they’re doing really great. They’re a great team, they're always having fun, they’re a great bunch of girls, really.”
Many of the girls on the 14U Bighorns team have been playing for years, yet they give the credit to their families and coaches for the daily encouragement and inspiration, such as 12-year-old Avery Williams.
“I love my coaches. They're amazing. It’s so awesome for them to come out, show up every single day and help us develop,” said Williams. “I kind of started the whole thing and then my brother got into playing and then my dad really pushes me right now and wants me to become as best as I can.”
“We love our goalies, our coaches, our players — we love our whole team and we’re really glad that we got a team together this year and we hope to win state,” exclaimed 13-year-old Athena Harris, who's been playing hockey since she was a toddler.
With only four games left until the team heads to Glasgow for Montana state tournament in February, a championship is the goal.
Ansley Cowan, the team's top goal scorer, confirmed, “Personally, that would make our dreams come true.”