Hockey is a growing sport in Utah, but it hasn't been growing evenly.

While even the increasing number of boys' programs in the state are currently having trouble finding ice time, that leaves virtually no time for any potential girls' hockey programs.

Kurt "Buzz" Peterson, a Park City fire captain, formed a group to help grow girls' hockey in the state.

"What we started with is there's a need for more girls' hockey in the state of Utah," Peterson said. "I sat down with Morgan Mariette (a former coach) and Derrick Radke (the Utah Amateur Hockey Association girls' and women's hockey representative) to come up with better ideas for building girls' hockey in Utah."

The goal is simple, Peterson added.

"We're just trying to get things set up so if girls don't want to play on a boys' team, they don't have to," he said.

Because of his efforts, Peterson was awarded the UAHA "Unsung Hero" award.

But, Peterson said, he's not putting all this time into girls' hockey to try to win awards.

"My first thought was, 'Who sent in the nomination?'" he said when asked what his reaction to the news was. "We're trying to make this happen for the girls. The hockey is for the kids, not for us. We don't need to reward people for doing this we just need to get it done."

He said progress has been steady so far, but there's still a long way to go.

"It's going well, but it's been a bit of a struggle," he said. "We have a program in line for under-12 girls, and something in the works for 14U and 16U. We have a lot of girls in Utah, it's just difficult trying to gather them all up."

Complicating that already difficult task, Peterson continued, is the lack of ice sheets in the area.

"The next step right now is tryouts for the U16s and trying to find ice time for them so they have a place to practice," he said. "We have weekends in Ogden, but most of the girls are from the valley, so we're trying to get some weeknight time closer to them."

But, he added, progress is being made. And, he said, the more exposure his cause gets, the better.

To learn more about the Grow Girls hockey program, email growgirls@gmail.com or visit the "Grow Girls Hockey in Utah" Facebook page. Additionally, the Park City Ice Arena is holding Girls' Hockey Drop-In sessions from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. on July 12 and Aug. 9.