Two local women were among hockey players who took part in the first all-women's Spring Thaw Hockey Tournament held April 11-13 in Spokane, Wash., hosted by Spokane's Mighty Chicks team.

Annie Robinson and Marcy Strazer, both of Wallowa County, joined eight women hockey players from the Moscow-Pullman area to form a team. The other players play for Washington State University and in the adult league at the Moscow Rotary Ice Pavilion.

Their team, sponsored by and named Shirt Shack, played in the novice division in the Spokane tournament along with seven other teams from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and California.

The Shirt Shack team ended up placing third place overall in the tournament, beating the Rose City Bandits from Portland for the bronze medal.

Shirt Shack lost its first game to an under-19-year-old team from Couer d'Alene, Idaho, (it eventually placed first in the tournament) and then went on to win their following three games. Strazer, playing right wing, scored a goal in an 8-0 win against the Spokane River Rats, and Robinson, playing right defense scored a breakaway goal in the third period of the bronze medal game against Portland.

The two woman, who both have played hockey the last two years at the ice rink in Enterprise City Park, said they discovered the depth and breadth of women's hockey interest and participation in and around the inland Northwest. They feel that Wallowa County's women's team, which has been steadily growing in numbers and experience the past two seasons, can field a team for next year's tournament. They encourage more women to play and discover the fun of learning the exciting sport.

The two women said they thoroughly enjoyed the experience of playing in an all-women's hockey tournament and meeting other women with varied backgrounds in hockey, some growing up on skates and others relative newcomers to the sport. They added that the Moscow players are intrigued by the prospect of playing a future tournament in Enterprise.

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