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Dont mess with girls hockey team

by: submitted photo, 
The Portland Junior Hawks girls hockey team poses after capturing a tournament victory. The team, which has knocked off boys’ teams, is headed up by West linn resident Candace Scott.

As team photos go, it is surely one of the best.

The players had just won an ice hockey tournament, and their poses reflect so much - attitude, cool, toughness. The James Dean look - dropped chins and raised eyes and slouching postures. Yeah, we bad. In fact, we're the baddest.

Could this be the second coming of the Broadstreet Bullies?

No. It's the first coming of the Portland Junior Hawks girls team. They had just won a tournament in Eugene, defeating several boys teams along the way, and they had every right to be a little full of themselves when the camera came out.

And they owed it all to Candace Scott, a West Linn woman who really, really loves ice hockey.

She not only coaches the Hawks, but another girls team called the Northwest Selects. Plus, Scott also plays ice hockey and watches her 6-year-old son Ross play ice hockey.

That would seem to be enough ice hockey activity for anybody, but Scott hopes she is just getting started.

She wants to expand the popularity of the sport until lots of little West Linn girls are skating up and down rinks, hitting slap shots and throwing body checks.

And posing for victory photos.

'I hope we can grow hockey for girls here,' Scott said. 'Hockey crosses well with lacrosse, and lacrosse is getting really big in West Linn, and I hope hockey grows as well.'

Scott is feeling really, really good right now because her Hawks just had a wonderful first season.

'At the first part we worked a lot of skills, but it was a hard go as far as wins and losses are concerned,' Scott said. 'But we won seven of our last eight games (finishing 8-8-2, including the tournament championship in Eugene).

'The girls became so close during the season. They do the Worm in the locker room. They bond. They were all crying and hugging each other at our end-of-the-year party.

'This year was one of the best coaching experiences I've ever had, across the board. The parents were great, the girls were great, my assistant coach (Kim Lynch) is a great role model. I felt the energy on this team was high all year. There was not a moment when we felt low.'

The genesis of this good feeling came last year when Scott decided that girls in the Portland Metro area should have their own ice hockey teams.

The result was the Northwest Selects.

Previously, Portland area girls could play ice hockey, but they had to play on a boys team.

Now they had a team of their own.

'I decided it would be fun to give it a shot,' Scott said. 'Girls really like to play with girls, but they had to play on boys teams. When girls play with boys they give up the puck, but on a girls team they take responsibility themselves.

'Girls are easy to coach. I think they understand the team game much sooner, and they're more intuitive when it comes to sharing the puck.'

Still, Scott admitted she had to make an attitude adjustment when she became a girls ice hockey coach.

'I've always been an athlete. I'm a very competitive person. I've been coaching a lot of years and I like to win,' she said. 'But with girls you've got to take the emphasis off of winning and put it on learning.

'With girls, more talk is involved. You just don't say, 'Do this, do that.' You don't spend a lot of time telling them what they did wrong. Instead, you tell them how they could do something better.'

Scott had a special reason for becoming a groundbreaker for girls ice hockey.

Her 9-year-old daughter Cailey is a precocious player and the youngest member of Northwest Selects.

Scott tries to damper her motherly pride when talking about Cailey, but it comes beaming out.

'I'm her mom, but I would qualify Cailey as one of the hardest working players on the team,' Scott said. 'She puts her heart and soul into every single shift. She has a huge impact on our games just with her work ethic.

'Cailey's the youngest member of the Selects, but she can keep up quite well. She's rather a rough thing. She's a different animal.'

Besides Cailey working hard at the center position, the Hawks also had 10-year-old Nicole Haye of Sunset Elementary, her buddy from West Linn, and a remarkable goal scorer in Miranda Buck, who poured in an amazing Gretzsky-like 66 goals this season.

'She's a great player,' raves Scott.

Scott's season will end on a tremendously exciting note because she is taking the Selects to compete in a 100-team tournament in Richmond, Canada on March 22.

'It will be really good to see how we fit into the mix,' she said.

Then, Scott and Lynch will go to work making sure girls hockey survives and thrives in this area.

'New girls are always wanted,' Scott said.

That's because the main purpose of her teams goes even beyond wins and losses and fun and friendship.

'Our goal is to build strong, capable young women,' Scott said.

Girls under age 12 wanting to play ice hockey can call Candace Scott at (503) 722-4399 or go to the Northwest Selects website at nwselects.org.