Hannah McCarthy started her hockey career later than other skaters.
She is making up for lost time.
Since the beginning of the year, the Kodiak High School junior has skated for Kodiak High School, Kodiak Hockey League, Team Alaska at the Arctic Winter Games and the Alaska All-Stars — a 19U team composed of the best ladies from around the state.
That’s a ton of ice time, and she loved every second.
McCarthy and the Alaska All-Stars recently competed at the USA Hockey National Championships in Irvine, California. The girls’ Tier II squad qualified for nationals by placing second in their district tournament in San Jose, California.
McCarthy wasn’t just on the team; she was a key contributor. The 5-foot-5 forward punched in two goals in Alaska’s 1-2-1 run through the tournament that showcased the top teams from all over the nation. Alaska lost to both teams that reached the championship game.
There was a reason she was named assistant captain.
“I’m just really glad that I have the opportunity to go off the island to compete against these higher-level teams,” McCarthy said. “That has made me develop as a player. Going to nationals was really fun, and honestly, it was such an honor to get to do that.”
McCarthy started playing hockey in the 12U division, which she said is a late start in the hockey world. It wasn’t instant gratification for the Kodiak kid who also runs cross country, track and plays soccer.
“My first time on the ice, I was not good at all. I just kept it up, and honestly, it has become my favorite sport,” McCarthy said.
Playing on a co-ed high school team has helped when she jumps to all-girl teams like she did for Team Alaska at the Arctic Winter Games and for the Alaska All-Stars.
“It is an advantage. … When I transition to the girls, if they push me around, I can handle it because I’m used to it,” McCarthy said. “The guys also skate faster, so I feel like I’m pretty fast when I’m playing with the girls.”
McCarthy is not the first Kodiak girl to be given a chance to skate for the Alaska All-Stars. The Glover sisters — Carly and Hannah — did a few years ago. And both skated at nationals. McCarthy is happy to keep the Kodiak tradition alive and hopes it inspires Kodiak youths.
“It is really cool for the girls in Kodiak hockey to see how far you can go,” McCarthy said.
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