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   It should come as no surprise that in a cold, hockey town like ours, girls want to be more like Ryan Miller than Kimmie Meissner.

   But even with roughly 900 girls ages 18 and under donning the hockey skates in Western New York alone, no Upstate New York public school has sponsored a girls varsity ice-hockey team between here and Skaneateles.

   Maybe we can blame Monroe County.

   Officials with Williamsville Central Schools said Tuesday they wanted to start a team, but couldn't find any regional competition. The same night, parents and teenage girls in Amherst Central Schools asked their district to consider sponsoring a team - but they face the same problem.

   Williamsville officials say they'd let their team travel as far east as the Rochester area if other districts would pick up the challenge to sponsor girls varsity ice hockey this fall. But so far, no one has.

   Girls varsity hockey is expected to take root in suburban districts first, where more parents are likely to have the resources to get their little girls engaged in such an expensive and time-consuming sport.

   So is the time ripe for varsity girls ice hockey? If not now, when?

  --- Sandra Tan

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