Rosary Academy athletic director Tom Tice takes the first step toward forming an all-girls team within the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League

By Dan Arritt     8/16/2018

You’ve got to start somewhere.

Anyone who’s ever tried to form a sports team, league or organization knows how much patience and dedication is required to get one off the ground.

Rosary Academy athletic director Tom Tice is known for having plenty of patience and dedication, and he recently decided it was time to blaze a new trail in an old sport.

He took the first step toward forming an all-girls team within the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League by holding a meeting for interested students on July 30 at Rosary.

Tice said Rosary’s status as an all-girls’ school made the idea feel like natural progression.

“But I know that’s not how it’s been in the hockey world,” Tice said. “Yet.”

Tice reached out to fellow athletic directors in the Trinity League, as well as Cornelia Connelly School in Anaheim, St. Lucy’s Priory High School in Glendora and Saint Joseph High School in Lakewood, hoping they would pass on the meeting information to their student bodies.

About a dozen girls showed up representing Rosary and Connelly. Tice said all the girls could skate and were ripe with enthusiasm, just short on playing experience.

Tice was hoping to see a few of the more experienced players from the other Trinity League schools—the handful of girls who play for their boys’ teams—but realizes the summer break likely played a factor in the low attendance.

He’s hoping an on-ice workout later this month will entice more players to give the all-girls’ team a try.

The overwhelming challenge for Tice, so far, is attracting enough players to make a team. Ideally, 15-18 are the norm.

And that’s just for a single team. Fielding additional girls’ teams is still a distance away, leaving another challenge of finding opponents with similar skill and experience.

“There’s not going to be any seniors who are expert in hockey, who are going to go around knocking girls down,” Tice said.

Tice has considered alternatives at this early stage, such as forming a co-ed team with the Servite junior varsity, or building a girls’ team with players from high schools throughout the Orange County area.

Ideally, however, he envisions an all-girls’ team consisting of players from within the Trinity League.

“The pull would be whether you wanted to create some sort of all-Trinity team of girls, or would they prefer playing for their own school?” Tice said. “Would you rather play with the boys at school and wear your JSerra sweater, or would you rather play with a team of all girls that has a Trinity League sweater on? I don’t know.”

The idea was brought up to Tice by Shawna Pautsch, the head of Rosary who served as a social studies teacher, activities director and assistant principal at the school from 1991 to 2014. She was then an assistant principal at Santa Margarita before returning to Rosary last summer.

Because of Santa Margarita’s involvement in the ADHSHL in recent years, Pautsch knew several people involved with the organization. She suggested Tice give them call.

Tice, a Servite graduate who has been a teacher, coach and athletic director at Rosary since 1994, said this pursuit has a special meaning.

“I think about, even when Rosary started (in 1965), there weren’t CIF girls sports, there weren’t championships for girls, there wasn’t even a soccer team when Rosary started,” he said. “So, as silly as that seems now, yea, it’s just about pursuing the opportunities that the kids want.”