Hockey means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For some, it’s their whole life, from 5a.m. workouts to late-night games. For others, it’s more of a family event, backyard shinny and friendly fire across a local pond. Some of us discovered hockey completely on our own, leaving our families to blink in confusion at us across the dinner table whenever we use words like “five-hole.”

But for some, hockey is just a sport they don’t have access to. It’s a lot of money to buy equipment you may never use, if you don’t like it, after all.

That’s why the St. Jude’s Hockey Club is hosting a “Hockey for Free” event this Sunday, October 12. The event targets girls aged 14 and younger for an opportunity to try their hand at the sport. The goal is to teach them both the basics of the game and the benefits it can offer, from sportsmanships and team-building to strength of character.

No hockey or skating experience is required; the goal of the day is to introduce newcomers to a game that for many can be hard to find opportunities to participate in. Equipment will also be provided for those who need it, including skates, sticks, and helmets. Girls who may have more experience with the sport will be split into “intermediate” and “advanced” groups, so that everyone receives the type of attention that best suits their skill level.

In addition to skating and hockey lessons, the event will include interactions with the current Knights Girls U12 hockey team, giving newcomers a chance to talk with players about why they like hockey and how it’s affected their lives.

The event takes place on Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm at Southwest Ice Arena in Crestwood, and lines up with the International Ice Hockey Federation’s fourth annual World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend, a global event aimed at introducing girls to the sport. For more information, visit St. Jude’s website.

Molly is not an athlete. She quickly got used to winning the “Best Smile” award at her family's Summer Olympics (an award made up especially for her by her grandmother, who felt bad that she never won anything else). But as they say, "Those who cannot do, write about it from the sidelines and provide orange slices at half time."

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