Girls hockey is on the rise across the Atlantic Affiliate, as one of the fastest growing sports for girls in the region. The New Jersey Youth Hockey League has always had a handful of girls playing in the youth divisions, especially at younger age levels. This year, the Montclair Blues 13-Pure team had a standout girls player on the team - Riley Stocker.
The Montclair Blues decided to take a chance on Stocker and in the end, it paid off for the team. The Blues went on to take third in the division with a 3-0 over the Woodbridge Wolfpack. The final goal of the game was by Stocker, a fitting farewell as she plans to leave the youth team for a girls team next season.
The Blues had a great season all year long leading to the victory. The team finished in second place in the north division and was one of four teams that qualified for a playoff spot.
Stocker was used to playing with the boys as she played with the Montclair Blues organization for four years before this season. She first started with the organization as an 8U player, and she plans to adapt to playing girls hockey in high school.
Montclair Blues’ head coach Corin Stortz stated, “(I) have done multiple 5:30 am lessons each week for two years before school with her.” Showing the true dedication she has for the sport of hockey and not letting people tell her what she can and can’t do.
Riley Stocker’s family is well-known in the Montclair Blues organization, as her older brothers both played for the team. The family has been involved for over 10 years says Stortz who witnessed this family participate in assisting in every way possible for the team.
Coach Stortz also reminisced about the bronze-medal game, the last game in Stocker’s career as a Blues player. “In a storybook moment, in our last game of the season she scored the last goal of the game, capping off her youth hockey career with the Montclair Blues.”
Another key aspect Stortz brought up that you rarely see in a female hockey player is body checking. She was considered one of the more physical players on the team. She also encouraged her teammates to play better on the ice. Stocker was, arguably, considered one of the hardest hitters in the league.
With all of the early morning practices and hard-hitting plays she made in her five-year career with the Blues, it is safe to say that Stocker is now prepared for the next chapter in her hockey career. Head Coach Corin Stortz and company did a tremendous job with showing her the ropes of the sport, and Stocker is prepared for her future hockey endeavors.