Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Dr. Andy Gillentine

Second Reader

Susan O'Malley


In February of 2018, the United States Women’s National Ice Hockey Team (Team USA) won gold at the Winter Olympics for the first time since 1998. The problem surrounds the unique components of the sport of ice hockey and identifying how to capitalize on international success to increase youth participation. The purpose of this study is to 1) identify the components needed to grow the game of female youth ice hockey, and in doing so, 2) identify the main barriers inhibiting the growth of female youth ice hockey. The research relies on semi-structured interviews with ice hockey experts including current and former Team USA players and youth hockey coaches and administrators. The information gathered was organized into concept maps and led to the identification of eleven components of growing the game of ice hockey, eight barriers, six intangible benefits, and six additional concepts relating to the growth of youth female ice hockey labeled as “additional phrases”. The research suggests committed and intentional involvement in youth ice hockey programs by governing bodies and professional players is needed to grow the game of hockey. In conclusion, research studies on female youth and professional ice hockey are still needed as sports and society are constantly changing, so the growth components and barriers are constantly evolving.

First Page


Last Page