Home Ice Advantage
The move gave Boudette and Wesche the chance to shape the Lightning, and Coliseum general manager Don Wright--who wants to see the Chelsea girls' program expand further--helped them reduce costs by simplifying the training regimen. And he gave them ice time in the late afternoons and early evenings, instead of the crack-of-dawn slots common at the crowded Cube.
Boudette sent out hundreds of emails to prospective players and held free open skates--featuring pop music and soccer on ice--to draw girls to the arena. Two sisters came over from the Cube. Another pair of sisters came from Canton. Eventually, the coaches recruited fifteen girls, some of them novices.
Boudette has partnered with the U-M women's hockey club team. With encouragement from the collegians and a focus on "hard work and continuous improvement," Boudette hopes to build a team of strong competitors, even though the Lightning were winless in the early going.
But they don't give up. At the start of the third and final period, the Lightning is losing 7-0, but coach Boudette--who's pacing on top of a bench--keeps encouraging his team. "OK, girls, they got five goals the first period and two the second--let's win the third!" The girls raise their sticks and yell, "One, two, three...Bolt!"