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NWHL

Boston Pride GM witness to NWHL’s grassroots impact

Hayley Moore hoists the Isobel Cup. Photo courtesy of NWHL.

While Boston Pride general manager Hayley Moore might work full-time for the NWHL, it’s hardly the only job she holds. Moore also works full-time as the director of girls hockey for the East Coast Wizards program, an organization that has been in existence since the 2005-06 season and is currently home to multiple U-18 women’s national team players.

Moore’s responsibilities range from running skills sessions to recruiting players, scheduling and basic program management as well as helping players through the recruiting process when it comes to prep schools or college programs.

Former U.S. Women’s National Team coach (and current head coach of the Boston Pride) Bobby Jay coaches there, and the men’s program has had several success itself, with a handful of players making it to the NHL. All in all, it’s a reputable program that most girls and young women are proud to play for.

Since the inception of the NWHL, however, Moore has seen a change in the way her players at the youth level view their futures and, by extension, their development as hockey players.

“The fun thing about it is that I’m really getting to work with girls’ hockey from the grassroots level all the way through professional,” Moore said. “There’s a huge correlation. To see the impact that the NWHL has on the girls program that I work with is amazing. We get to talk about it all the time, about how the emergence of the NWHL is creating new dreams for everyone. I actually see that, every single day, so that’s really rewarding for me in both roles.”

Fans watch on Valentine's Day with snacks. Connecticut Whale at Boston Pride Feb. 14 2016. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kaitlin S. Cimini

Fans watch on Valentine’s Day with snacks. Connecticut Whale at Boston Pride Feb. 14 2016. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kaitlin S. Cimini

The players demonstrate it in all sorts of ways and many have turned into Boston Pride superfans, attending games, waving signs, begging for autographs and more. Some were even lucky enough to play on Pride ice in between periods during the regular season, fueling their excitement and desire to support the team and even play on a professional team themselves.

“Just seeing their support –– I’ll come out for a skill session and they’ll say, “How’s Denna doing?” or “Did the Pride win this weekend?” or “Can you get me Hilary Knight’s autograph?” Moore continued. ” It’s something new every day and just for them to be so aware of what’s happening in women’s hockey and that they have these girls to look up to…I see that every single day, so it’s really fun.

“I coach girls who are seniors in high school right now so once they go through the college avenue they might be looking to play [in the NWHL],” Moore added. “And those are the ones that ask a lot more questions that seem relevant to them playing, versus the younger kids, the U-8s and the U-12s. They’re just sort of asking for autographs and about the cool stuff the players get, things like that.”

While the NWHL may seem like a far-off, distant thing to many of the younger players, Moore sees its impact on the landscape of the future of women’s hockey from a front-row seat. With elite players on her roster at the girls level, should she continue to GM the Pride over the next few years, she may even draft some of her Wizards players, a fact that isn’t lost on those players or on Moore herself.

“I can see what this league and our team in Boston specifically is doing for girls hockey,” said Moore. “I can see it firsthand. I know how big of an impact it is and what we’ve already had. It’s a no-brainer. I just want to continue to be involved and try to help push those boundaries and create more opportunities.”

“It’s one of the funnest parts of my job: I get to see the effect these two levels have on each other.”

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