The St. Clair Shores Civic Ice Arena modified a locker room for the girls team to have for the season, featuring a look at their upcoming jerseys.

The St. Clair Shores Civic Ice Arena modified a locker room for the girls team to have for the season, featuring a look at their upcoming jerseys.

Photo courtesy of Brian Carrithers

MGHSHL welcomes St. Clair Shores Lakers Unified

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 7, 2023


ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores is making its way to the Michigan Girls High School Hockey League for 2023-2024.

After receiving school approval and acceptance from the MGHSHL, the St. Clair Shores Lakers Unified Hockey Team will field a girls team for the upcoming season.

“We felt the time was right,” said Brian Carrithers, girls hockey director of the St. Clair Shores Hockey Association. “We’ve had good success with the boys program, and now that we’ve got enough girls who have been playing for some time and are in that age group, we finally got school approval to field a team and move forward this year.”

The team will be a mix of St. Clair Shores Lake Shore, Lakeview and South Lake athletes, with the majority currently attending Lakeview as the team stands now.

The Lakers’ home ice will be the St. Clair Shores Civic Ice Arena, which the boys St. Clair Shores Lakers Unified team currently utilizes for home games as well.

The boys side made some noise this season as they reached the regional finals in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 tournament, and the girls will plan to become a part of the winning culture St. Clair Shores has established.

While success will inevitably be what the team strives for in the near future, Carrithers said the main goal behind the decision to bring in a girls team was much more than wins and losses.

“What we’re seeing, much like on the boys side, is that once girls get to the 15 to 16 age group, there’s less and less options for them to play hockey,” Carrithers said. “On the east side, it’s fine for a lot of the girls in our association because they either go to Grosse Pointe North, Grosse Pointe South, Liggett and Regina, but those girls in our city and our community are left having to travel elsewhere to play on a team to continue their playing career.”

It’s unclear yet whether the Lakers will be competing in Division 1 or Division 2, but they’re surrounded by tough competition with Grosse Pointe South, Grosse Pointe North, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett, and Regina/Lutheran North United all having teams.

The Lakers have already competed in scrimmages against their crosstown rivals and are currently competing in scrimmages right now.

Jenalyn Pangborn, the team’s inaugural head coach, said she’s been impressed with what she’s seen so far from her squad.

Pangborn said it’ll be a tough transition for her team just adjusting to high school hockey, but she’s excited to see how her squad reacts to the transition.

“The girls divisions are really cool,” Pangborn said. “They have a good amount of teams, and it’s a really enjoyable season. When they start playing, it can get really competitive, so I’m excited for the girls to see that and experience it because it’s something different than the tier two teams that are playing with Triple-A. You see a lot of different skills, and it’s also really inviting for the girls who have never played before.”

Pangborn, a St. Clair Shores native, played four years of high school hockey at University Liggett as a two-time all-state defenseman and team captain before playing at Grand Valley State University from 2015 to 2017.

Pangborn previously coached in the St. Clair Shores Hockey Association on the girls side, serving as the 16U head coach and an assistant coach on the 19U team.

Pangborn said she has one goal in mind with the team going into the year.

“I think we’re just going to try to have a good season,” Pangborn said. “I definitely want the girls to have fun and enjoy it. I want to get a feel for what they want as well out of the team.”

The season is slated to start in November, and interested skaters can reach out to Carrithers at for information on open skate dates and times. The team is looking for skaters to join and no prior hockey experience is required.