BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — These Harborcenter seats are cleared out now but they’ve been packed this whole weekend as thousands of excited hockey fans filled them for the inaugural National Women’s Hockey League All-star game.
“We’re here to help them bring awareness to women sports and hockey here in Buffalo being hockey town USA,” said Derek, a Buffalo Beauts fan attending the NWHL all-star game.
“”They’re used to just having a male driven sport and professional leagues,” said Maggie Giamo who is also at the game. “Now that there’s this NWHL league there are possibilities to pursue a dream of playing a professional sport and being paid for it.”
The Queen City is just one of four across the country that has a team in the league.
“It’s always been a hockey town,” said Giamo. “But it’s nice now that it’s really rooted in women’s hockey.”
Maggie Giamo is a right winger for the Beauts. She’s also a local teacher and she’s watching the all-star game with a group of her students including a lot of young girls.
From having one of the few cities to have a team in the women’s league to Kathryn Smith becoming the first female full-time coach in the NFL, Buffalo seems ahead of the game with the roles women play in sports.
Giamo and teammate Emily Pfalzer- who is also captaining the winning all-star – both say they feel Buffalo is one of the more progressive sports cities .
“It shows it here, h we hosted the all star game and the turn out was also great.”” said Pfalzer, who is a Getzville native.
“Girls hockey has come such a long way from when I started,” said Giamo. “It’s nice to see that this happening finally and I can see it going further now.”
That’s something young girls are noticing and hoping continued as well as they keep their eyes on a bright future in sports.
“I think women are coming far in the leagues and all of that and we’re finally getting recognition,” said Taylor, a young hockey player enjoying the all-star game. “It was always just the Olympics and now it’s coming this far. I think it’s every girls goal now.”