ASU women's hockey gears up for inaugural season

With prospect camp and tryouts, August has been a busy month for the Sun Devils.

It's 7 a.m. on a Thursday in Tempe. The glass surrounding the rink is fogged up — the cool air inside Oceanside Ice Arena contrasting with the heat just outside the door. That is where you will find the first-ever ASU women's hockey team as they practice.

August is technically part of the offseason for hockey, but the Sun Devils are busy getting ready for their upcoming inaugural season. The last month has been a busy one for ASU with plenty of preparation ahead for the fledgling program.

The team added three players to their 2015-16 recruiting class this month: Brianna HersomeMolly Potter, and Madison Quiñonez

ASU also held its first full prospect camp including on-ice sessions and training, as well as off-ice workouts and a white and gold scrimmage on the last day of camp.

“The prospect camp was a chance for us to see girls in high school play," ASU head coach Lindsey Ellis said. "With them having games on the weekends all the time, it made our chances to go on a recruiting trip a little hard."

Prospect camp allowed the Sun Devils to add girls to their system as well as invite some of the girls to the tryouts they recently held at Oceanside.

Ellis said that ASU's current roster is made up of 10 skaters and two goalies. Tryouts allowed her the chance to see a few more girls that could be added to the team.

The ten current skaters on the Sun Devils are considered to be their core group of players with the potential for signing others in the future.

"I think it went really well," Ellis said of tryouts.  "Obviously for a first-year program things are a little more difficult than they will be in the future, but things are going really well for us."

In addition to Ellis, goalie coach Kaley Marino and assistant coach Matt Shott (who also works with the Arizona Coyotes) were in attendance to help conduct tryouts. 

But they weren't the only big names in attendance. Stopping by for the two days of tryouts was National Women's Hockey League star defensewoman Kaleigh Fratkin. 

It's possible that other professional women's players might help with the team in the future, but nothing is certain according to Shott, who also spoke about whether or not the Coyotes will be involved during the season at all. 

"Probably not this season. Especially with how early we are," he said. "But we'll look at doing some things like providing some extra ice time out at Gila River."

Tryouts consisted of 90 minutes of on-ice exercises and drills including passing, battles along the boards and in the corners, and shot attempts. 

These tryouts meant even more to the players because they represented the beginning of women's hockey at ASU. The significance of the role they will play was not lost on them.

Molly Potter, playing defense, will be a freshman at ASU this season. 

"It's really cool to be on the ground level of the team and be able to continue to build it up," Potter said. "It's fun to build the program and see where it goes."

Junior center Amber Galles echoed Potter's thoughts.  

"I think the inaugural team process is super cool," Galles said. "We get to create a program for more girls to come in from wherever and continue playing it after high school or whatever level they they came from." 

Both girls felt that tryouts went well and look forward to all that the season will bring. 

"I think we're going to have a really good season," Galles said. "We've been able to see that all the girls are really passionate about playing."

While August has been an extremely busy month for the team, it has been a fruitful one. The Sun Devils will continue to practice every Tuesday and Thursday on the ice and work every Wednesday off-ice as the season nears.

ASU opens its inaugural season with a scrimmage against the Anaheim Lady Ducks U19 team on Friday, Sept. 23 at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe. The regular season begins on the road at University of Colorado on Friday, Oct. 7.

Reach the reporter at or follow @taylorsedona on Twitter.

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