Team USA Inspires Young Hockey Players - NBC 7 San Diego
Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Follow All The Winter Olympics Action Feb. 6-24 on NBC

Team USA Inspires Young Hockey Players

    Get the latest Olympics 2014 Newsletter
    On the heels of Team USA's dramatic hockey win over Russia, the California State Games are in full swing at ice rinks all over San Diego. NBC 7's Liberty Zabala tells us how the Olympics are inspiring young athletes for their chance at bringing home gold. (Published Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014)

    At this weekend’s California State Games Hockey Tournament in San Diego, Team USA’s dramatic 3-2 win over Russia in Men’s Hockey was on everyone’s mind.

    "I feel like, wow, I hope that's me one day. I can just go out there and win a gold medal with my team,” said Isabelle DeLiberti, a young hockey player competing in the tournament.

    The California State Games are run by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Many of its summer athletes went on to become Olympians, but there is yet to be a winter one.

    However, with the addition of six more hockey teams this year, they just might find one.

    San Diego to Sochi: Fans React to USA Hockey Win

    [DGO]San Diego to Sochi: Fans React to USA Hockey Win
    NBC 7's Steven Luke talks to fans right after the USA-Russia hockey game Saturday. While they were rooting for different teams, everyone in the stadium united in Olympic spirit.
    (Published Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014)

    "Hopefully one of these kids that are on the ice here today will one day be on that screen," said Lisa Hauck with the California State Games.

    Special Section: Sochi 2014

    The teams in the tournament are co-ed. Being a girl in a male-dominated sport can have downsides.

    "The coaches say like, ‘go weak side,’ and I'm like, ‘really? You think I'm weak?’" Anna Liu said.

    But these girls have learned to use that to their advantage.

    “They used to call me the secret weapon,” Anna said.

    "When I play in the game, I hear coaches say like, ‘she's a girl, guys, don't worry.’ And then they stay and I show them and they say, ‘attack the girl! She's good!’ So it's just like, ‘told you!’" Isabelle said.

    “When I’m on the ice, I think I can definitely take them,” she added.

    These girls are out to prove the naysayers wrong. Both Anna and Isabelle hope to play for Team USA in the Olympics one day.

    Chu Will Play in Women's Hockey Semifinals

    The Olympics seem to be inspiring more than just current hockey players. Both the San Diego Ice Arena and the Salvation Army's Kroc Center Ice Arena tell NBC 7 that they’ve seen at least a 25 percent increase in sign-ups for hockey and figure skating lessons.

    The California State Games will award gold, silver and bronze medals for hockey on Monday.

    Get the latest from NBC 7 San Diego anywhere, anytime

    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android