Not Today Young Lady: MIAA Cancels 7-Year-Old Girl From Leading Hockey Team Onto Ice

David Creed •

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Lyla, a 7 year old girl who leads the Nantucket Boys Hockey team onto the ice every game with a flag, was denied the opportunity by the MIAA prior to last week's state quarterfinal game.

If you have attended a Nantucket boys hockey game over the past two years, odds are that you have noticed the Whalers being led onto the ice by a young girl proudly waving a "Whaler Pride" flag to signal the beginning of the warmup period.

The flagbearer is a 7-year-old-girl named Lyla and last Wednesday, she traveled with the team, dressed up in her gear, and gripped the flag with excitement eager to lead her favorite team onto the Gallo Arena ice for the biggest game of their season.

But just prior to the team getting ready to take the ice for the Whaler's state quarterfinal matchup against the Stoneham Spartans, the team was approached by the MIAA and told “not today" about the tradition - leaving Lyla devastated and players very unhappy about the situation just ahead of warmups.

Lyla is the daughter of one of the team’s assistant coaches. The tradition was allowed to be carried out during the team’s first two playoff games this year and she led them onto the ice in last year’s semifinal at the Gallo.

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According to Lyla's father, the reasoning given by the MIAA was for “insurance issues.”

“She’s part of the team," he said. "The boys all love and embrace her like their little sister. She loves her boys. She was literally so bummed about it. I found her hiding off in the corner behind the stands after I told her."

Below you can see a screenshot from the livestream of the Bourne/Sandwich Canal Cup on February 3rd. You’ll see two individuals waving flags after leading their teams onto the ice - which looks like a great, cool tradition before a historic rivalry game that has been going on for decades.

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But this was at the same rink Lyla was denied the same opportunity. It should be noted the Feb. 3 game was not run by the MIAA. It was run by the schools. It wasn’t a tournament game. The game on Wednesday was. But as to what the insurance issues were the MIAA claims prevented a 7-year-old-girl from skating onto the ice with a flag during a game being operated by them remains a mystery.

"The pictures say it all. She loves them and they love her. Her and her boys," a coach told the Current. “She’s part of this group and it sucked to see it ripped away from her. Skating the flag seems so minor but means so much to the team.”

It’s unclear why all of a sudden this became an issue when it was allowed all season, during the first two games of the state tournament on the island, and last year during the state semifinal in the same venue - which was an MIAA event. Nantucket players took time during intermissions and postgame to support her, the Current was told - adding another distraction and piece of drama to their plate before an important state tournament game.

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Lyla taking a team photo with the boys hockey team following their state quarterfinal win on home ice last year against Amesbury.
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