A Temecula girl bucked the trend and is on her way to ice hockey heights after falling in love with the sport as a young child.
Talia Route watched from afar as her big brother swatted pucks and skated toward the goal as a tough in-line hockey player.
With no ice rink in the Temecula area, it has taken dedication and perserverance to help Talia on the road to achieve her dreams to make it to the Olympics.
“My daughter has been playing ice hockey since she was 6-years-old, following in her brother’s footsteps of course,” Tony Route said proudly. “She immediately took to the sport and thrived.”
Route explained that because Talia wanted more time on the ice, she opted to play goalie. He said she declared, “boys won’t pass to me and I want to play.”
“She figured she’d get a lot more action if she tended goal,” Route added.
Route says his daughter has a determination that inspires most who meet her.
A testament to her hard work is the upcoming hockey camp in Seattle that she was hand selected to attend.
“She has put all of her energy into making her dream come true,” Route explained. “The camp is invite only and a stepping stone to the Olympics.”
As a family affair, Talia’s grandparents are fully engulfed in her trajectory.
“Her grandpa Paco goes to every game and cheers her on,” Route stated. “We spend much of our free time making sure she makes it to practice and games.”
Route joked that although his faith in his daughter is huge, he wondered if Talia’s passion for ice-hockey was a passing phase.
“When you are the father of a 10-year-old, you wonder.”
According to Route, there are only a few all girl ice hockey teams in California, making travel necessary.
“It is a big commitment and she is worth it.”
In addition to dreams of making it into the Olympics, Talia has her sights set on Boston University.
“Her ultimate goal is to go to college in Boston,” Route said.
So, Talia continues to work hard playing for the Lady Ducks to accomplish her mission of being an Olympic ice hockey player despite the fact that girls aren’t a big part of the sport.
“Really there are not many girls that play hockey from Temecula, so we feel this is a big deal,” Route said.
Talia is a freshman at Great Oak and according to her parents has sacrificed much of her free and social time practicing to make her dreams a reality.
Stephanie D. Schulte is a writer/photographer with SWRNN. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.