BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The high school winter sports season is over, but a few of the best girls hockey players in the state have a pretty big tournament looming next weekend. The Vermont Shamrocks 19U and 16U girls teams are both headed for Amherst, New York, just outside of Buffalo, for the Tier 2 Junior Hockey National Championships.
The Shamrocks are unique among their competition in that their teams are entirely composed of Vermonters rather than recruiting players from other areas. Not this is not a rare occurrence for teams in the Shamrocks program to get to nationals: the 19U team won a national championship on home ice at Cairns back in 2016. But the girls who comprise the 16U roster have never gotten this far. They're looking forward to the opportunity to prove themselves on the big stage.
"I've been playing since U10 where it's been really rough," said Grace Wiggett, a forward from Essex Junction. "We didn't win much, but I've developed my skills and really worked hard up to this point where we finally get to go to nationals and hopefully bring one home."
"It's gonna be amazing," added Molly French of Norwich. "I went last year to watch, and just being in the rink, it's just kind of feels like a really big deal. And it's just kind of a dream come true to go."
The Shamrocks begin tournament play on Thursday, April 4th at 11:15 a.m. when they take on the Steele City Selects.