Deep in the heart of football-crazy central Texas, a seed was planted eight years ago. When the Texas Stars landed in Cedar Park in 2009, they sparked a renewed interest in youth hockey that has become a symbiotic relationship between the AHL club and the local youth leagues. In a state where football is a way of life, youth hockey participation in Austin has grown 42% since the Stars arrived.
No one has a better view of the success of youth hockey in Austin than Angie Vaught, the general manager of the local Chaparral Ice rink and hockey director for the Austin Metro Hockey League. A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Vaught grew up playing hockey in Canada and later moved to the United States and competed with the Americans in the 2002 Ringette World Championships, a sport similar to hockey.
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