BIDDEFORD — Girls hockey is not new to the Biddeford Youth Hockey Association, but the organization will see many new girls players coming into the program over the coming years.

At least that’s the plan for BYHA girls director Ashley Potvin.

In addition to building the Biddeford High School girls program, which she took over from her mother, Marie, four years ago, Potvin is trying to build back up a BYHA girls program that she said was “hanging by a thread” just a few years back.

Potvin said that the only girls team the BYHA had when she took over as the Biddeford High School coach was a middle school team. And even that was struggling.

BYHA has a long standing history of girls programs, according to Potvin, but not so long ago the girls programs were almost history.

But the kind of determination that served Potvin well while playing for Biddeford, and later Norwich University, has been a boon for the BYHA girls programs.

The organization has since added a U19 Tier-II travel team, and this year is adding three more teams and a learn-to-play program.

The BYHA recently announced that it is starting a second U19 team as well as U10 and U14 teams.

“We are looking to increase the number of girls in the younger age groups by providing more opportunities for them to skate with just girls,” said Potvin.

The growth of girls programs at BYHA is mirroring an influx of interest at the high school level. Potvin said that Massabesic has joined forces with the existing Gorham/Bonny Eagle program and Cheverus is adding Kennebunk to its girls program.

Potvin said that expanding the offerings for the BYHA girls program will hopefully pay dividends for more than just her own program.

“These program expansions give us two very important things in southern Maine: A pathway for players to continue to improve their skills and a feeder program which will help us continue to build our programs in the coming years,” said Potvin. “Within one year there have been paths created for the majority of players in the southern part of the state to start playing when they are little and play at the varsity level in high school. It is my hope that by creating opportunity and keeping programming as affordable as possible, that we can really make a strong push to get girls hockey back on the map in York County.”

— Sports Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.

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