RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Among the boys practicing at the Raleigh IcePlex last Friday was goalie "Boom" Williams. Here's the thing -- Boom isn't a boy.
"My cousin was a beer league goalie, so he inspired me to be a goalie" Boom explained.
Boom is actually Mikayla Williams. The nickname is from another sport.
"I got the nickname from softball because I would always get the home run hits for the team," Mikayla said.
Raised in Alaska -- she and her family first moved to Texas and then east to Carthage, North Carolina, to be closer to her ill grandfather. Her hockey skills made the trip, too. It was a no-brainer to try out for the Junior Hurricanes
"They were talking about how I was from Texas and I'm a girl goalie," she recalled.
More than a girl goalie, she's a good goalie. Mikayla made the team.
QUICKLY PROVED HERSELF
Her coach, Shane Willis, said it is her temperament that stands out most of all.
"The big thing you notice is how composed and calm she is out there on the ice," Willis said.
I asked Mikayla how long it took for her to prove to the boys that she had the goods in net.
"Pretty quickly," she answered with a smile.
A former Hurricane, Willis knows full well that a good goalie is a major part of any successful club.
"It really surprises them when they can't score on her. She's that good," he said.
Teammate and fellow goalie Jack Foy says Mikayla's great at playing the angle and snaring the puck with her glove. They watch and learn from each other.
"We fist bump a lot," he told me.
CHASING A DREAM
Carthage isn't exactly close by. Mikayla and her mom drive 1 1/2 to 2 hours each way four days a week to chase her hockey dream.
"She's pretty proud of me," Mikayla said.
As well she should be. Despite her nickname, "Boom" is pretty shy by nature. She lets her game speak instead.
Just 12, she's got years to develop her skills. Her dreams are already well-defined.
"I want to make it to the Olympics and then play in the NWHL," she said.
Willis said she's off to a great start.
"She has the right work ethic and determination ... She's showing that this is a great game for young women to get involved in and she's almost paving the way," Willis said.