Our History

In 1972—the very year that Title IX became law and the Cornell women's ice hockey club team became a varsity team—two high school sophomores, Linda Dominick (back row, far right) and Margaret Stanton (middle row, far left), approached Cornell men's ice hockey coach Dick Bertrand about a summer hockey school for girls. Bertrand agreed, and the camp was held in June of that year.

Building on the positive experience of that camp, Dominick and Stanton advocated for a girls' ice hockey program. That October, with the help of Bruce Wilkins, the chairman of the Ithaca Youth Bureau, the first of several meetings was held for those interested in girls' hockey. Soon thereafter, Tompkins Girls Hockey Association was formed.

On November 18, 1972, Cass Park Rink officially opened, and TGHA held its very first practice at 6:00 am that morning. That year, approximately sixty girls from fifth grade to senior high played with TGHA, which organized itself into five house league teams. The registration fee was $15.

In December of 1973, tryouts were held for an all-star travel team. The team was known as the Tompkins Girls Travel Team and then the Ithaca All Stars, until one of the players dubbed them the "Ithaca Shooting Stars," and the Shooting Stars were born!

Over the years, TGHA has enjoyed many firsts, milestones, and accomplishments, including winning the first New York State Girls' Hockey Tournament in 1977 and repeating as New York State champions in 1978. In 1998, TGHA was one of ten hockey programs to receive a $10,000 grant from the National Hockey League, and in 2000, TGHA hosted the first-ever 12U Girls' Hockey State Championships at The Rink in Ithaca.

We celebrated our golden anniversary in 2022, and our history is currently on display as part of the exhibit "A Sporting Chance: On and Off the Field" at The History Center in Tompkins County. We've been the home of girls' hockey in Tompkins County for over fifty years, and we look forward to the next fifty!

(This section would not be possible without Shooting for the Stars: A Brief History of Girls' Ice Hockey in Tompkins County by Lara K. Stanton.)

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