CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It's no surprise that in this Southern city, women hockey players often have to play with men since there aren't enough of them to form a league.
But there is one competitive women's team in the area -- the Charlotte Lady Checkers. The team was founded three years ago by the only native Southerner on the team.
"I would love to have played hockey as kid, but I wasn't aware of it until as an adult," said Margaret Moore.
Moore picked up a hockey stick at age 35. Her teammates, who are all from different cities, started playing earlier.
Captain Shannon Sands has played all her life, in college, and she even tried out for the Olympics this year.
"I didn't, obviously, make it because I am sitting here, but it was a lot of fun for me," Sands said.
And as the mother of a 2-year-old girl, the Michigan native is doing her part to raise the next generation of the sport.
"My daughter loves the sport of hockey. She's already got two pair (of skates)," Sands said.
Kayci Caruso started out figure skating, but switched over to hockey.
"I figure skated for a long time, until I was about 13 years old," she said. "(In hockey), you are pushing. You are shoving. It just feels good to come out, shoot and stick handle."
The Lady Checkers coach is a native Canadian and the father of the team's youngest player -- a high schooler.
The coach said he wants women to know they don't have to be big to play the sport.
"I think many women think they would get hurt doing it, when, in fact, in adult leagues the risk is very low," he said.
The Charlotte Lady Checkers travel and play against several other teams in the Southeast. For more information on the team, visit http://www.charlotteladycheckers.com/