MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The Arizona Coyotes unveiled the Coyotes Community Ice Center in Mesa on Thursday. The rink is the first official designated home for girls hockey in the desert.

The rink is the official home for the Arizona Kachinas girls hockey program, led by Olympic Silver Medalist and Chandler-native Lyndsey Fry.

"I remember growing up and we were lucky if we got any ice as girls, any all-girl program I played in," Fry said. "When we won anything, it was like, 'Ok, we won. Where do we put our trophies? Where do we put our banners?'"

This is the seventh full-time hockey rink to be built in the Valley, which will help as the sport continues to grow in popularity in the desert.

Girls hockey in the state of Arizona has grown 53% over the last five years and 236% over the last 10. Having a rink like this dedicated to women and girls in the sport will help keep up with the popularity increase.

"The potential is limitless with what we can do now," Fry said. "A lot of the issues we've had in the past is we just take the leftovers and to not have to do that, to be able to get the prime ice time, that's not only going to help the game grow, it's going to make us a viable program."

Coyotes forward Clayton Keller was at the rink to for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"It brings me back to my days playing hockey when the new rink opened up that was close to my house," Clayton Keller said. "It was just so accommodating and it was something that I always looked forward to knowing that it was so close to me. I think it's huge in Arizona to help grow the game and I think this is a step in the right direction."

The rink will be home to 12 different girls hockey teams across Arizona.

"It's something I never could of dreamed of," Fry said. "I also think that we have to pinch ourselves a little bit now that it is finally here."

 

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