“This is great to be a part of showing off these amazing athletes,” said Larry Bruyere, general manager of The Cube.
From 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturday, the two Team USA forwards were taking photos and signing autographs for anyone who wanted one.
“It’s fun to make people’s day and see kids smiling,” said Heise.
Although their presence was in connection to their Monday game at Crypto.com Arena, Zumwinkle and Heise were ecstatic to give back an experience they would have valued when they were younger.
“I think growing up and playing hockey and being able to meet other people who have come through and then been able to do it, for younger people, it shows a lot about the sport and the growth of it but also then to be able to give back and see the younger girls who we were once growing up,” said Zumwinkle.
“I know I would be first in line for this when I was a kid,” said Heise.
Bruyere said that The Cube is currently developing a girls hockey program.
Even though the program is not active yet, Bruyere hopes that Zumwinkle and Heise’s appearance inspires these young girls to enroll.
“Having Team USA here is a great role model for these girls,” said Bruyere.
Zumwinkle and Heise are two examples to the young girls of Santa Clarita, and the rest of the country, that hockey is a sport not just for men, and women in hockey should be more presented.
“I think the stigma is that it’s masculine and dominated, but I think being able to be a female playing in a male-dominated sport you get to do what you want and kinda make your way in it,” said Heise. “I think women in sports have come a long way recently but I think women in hockey too have had a lot of success recently and we’re happy to be in the age where it’s going in an upward direction and we’re hoping to add to that and take the stigma away from the male side all the time and bring it towards the female side and help little girls catch their dream like we have.”
Those wanting to attend the Monday night Team USA vs. Team Canada game at Crypto.com Arena can purchase tickets at bit.ly/3hymiL0. Team USA leads the rivalry series, three games to one.