Skating into PIHL girls’ hockey


Image courtesy of Sara Setto

The 19 and under South Pittsburgh Rebellion team waits for the puck to drop at the Lemeuix Sports Complex during the 2022 playoff season.

Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League (PIHL) is an organization that operates competitive hockey teams across several school districts in Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas.  

The league enrolls high school hockey players and believes that students should have the opportunity to develop sportsmanship and character. PIHL not only focuses on this but also strives for hockey players to work on their own physical fitness as the organization believes it is a crucial part of every child’s life. It stresses the importance of educational and cultural exposure to their players.

Because the league has only had boys’ teams since its beginning in the 1970s, PIHL decided to create an all-girls division. Originally set to begin in 2020, the division was pushed back due to COVID-19 and began its first official season in April 2022.

Currently, several students at Trinity participate in the girls’ PIHL division: Seniors Marley Webster and Sara Setto; Junior Giana Sasselli; and Freshmen Emerson Webster, Autumn Sitler and Keira Roddy.

Before this all-girls division, any girl interested in playing hockey would have to play with varsity boys’ teams instead of having their own. 

Setto, a team member of the 19 and under South Pittsburgh Rebellion, has been playing hockey for 10 years.

“PIHL girls’ hockey is the girl’s division for ice hockey because the boys’ rules are different,” Setto explains.

One of the reasons the separate team was created is because of these differing rules. In girls hockey, there is no checking or hitting. 

The division is set up by region and consists of the teams Central, East, West, North, Southeast and Southwest. Girls who decide to sign up are divided into their team based on which school district they belong to and their individual skill level. 

A typical boys’ hockey season would take place around early November to February; however, the girls’ team is different. A normal season for PIHL girls’ hockey would usually take place between April and June. 

Although they wear a uniform with their team name on it, each girl still represents their own high school. The jerseys have the logo of their school on the right shoulder. 

As for their competitions, they play locally, regionally and nationally in championships around the country.

On the West girls’ hockey team, Webster explains that the team members have always gotten along well with each other in the past. She also notes that her team went undefeated in their 2022 regular season.

“This year we’re hoping to go all the way and win playoffs,” Webster said. 

When asked about what she would like to achieve in her upcoming season, Setto remarks, “I want to have just as much fun this year if not more with varsity since I’m a senior.”