The Glen Lake Girls Athletic League (GAL) is a volunteer, non-profit organization offering recreational and travel league slowpitch softball for Hopkins, Eden Prairie and Minnetonka girls in kindergarten through 12th grade. The goals of our program are to:
Provide a safe, positive recreational environment
Teach skills that contribute to self-confident play
Promote good sportsmanship
And last, but not least -- have fun!
We encourage girls to join our House leagues at any age level regardless of skill or prior experience. Learn more.
If you'd like to get regular updates on our league, including registration information, please click here to join our email list.
If you'd like to learn more about GAL or about slowpitch softball, please see the About GAL page.
The Minnentonka Sun-Sailor newspaper published a nice article about GAL in their January 26, 2012 issue. Now in our 51st year, it's worth another read!
Minnetonka’s girls of summer – then and now
By Marc Ingber, Copyright 2012 ECM Newspapers, Inc. Reprinted by permission. Photos courtesy of Laura Minnihan, Kay Lund, and Kelly Hougnon.
Glen Lake Girls League celebrates its 45th season
With more than 250 girls, ranging in age 4-18 and fielding five different divisions, the Glen Lake Girls Athletic League is a major organization in the Minnetonka area.
But its beginnings in 1966 were humble – it all started with a simple question from Paul and Jackie Radde’s 8-year-old daughter. She asked why her dad was coaching her brothers’ baseball teams, but there wasn’t a team that she could play on.
“There were no girls’ sports at all,” Jackie said. “It was strictly boys playing little league.”
Though organized girls softball wasn’t common at the time, the Raddes decided there was no good reason there couldn’t be one. They weren’t sure if there would be enough interest, but asked some friends if their daughters wanted to play softball.
2010 Division 1 All-Stars
Surprisingly, there were enough girls on Crown Street in Minnetonka to form their own team, called the Tigers. Originally called the Glen Lake Girls, the league was initially open to girls in grades 3-6.
“It got to be too many kids,” Jackie said. “(Paul) called friends to help coach. They turned out to be pretty good ballplayers.”
As more and more girls wanted to play, the league continued to expand in both size and age range until it has grown into what it is today.
This year will mark the Glen Lake Girls Athletic League’s 45th season. Its president, Laura Minnihan, said the league is being revitalized this year with a new website, new travel name and logo.
Minnihan’s daughters, now 14 and 12, joined the league when they were in second grade and kindergarten, respectively.
“I loved the league and we became an involved family very quickly, she said, “with my husband coaching, often two teams per season.”
In 2008 Minnihan was asked to be the Division I coordinator and the next year she became the league president.
“I feel the league is unique because it is a community based program that focuses on building skills and teamwork,” she said. “It is a recreational league that doesn’t have a demanding schedule and just encourages girls to get out there and play.”
In the early days, the Glen Lake Girls would play wherever they could. They originally played at the old Glen Lake School off Woodhill Road and would practice on open lots in the area.
In the ‘70s, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School donated the land where the league’s home field, Optimist 3, now stands to the city for girls softball use. Originally, it was just a field with a backstop and a rough-cut diamond. 1979 7th-8th grade All-Stars
In the late ‘80s, the community pulled together to update the fields. Glen Lake businesses like the Gold Nugget Tavern and Grille, Kraemer’s True Value Hardware, Glen Lake Wine and Spirits, the Optimists and other bought ad space and made donations to upgrade fencing and add a backstop and bleachers.
Lynn Wolf’s daughters played in the league in the ‘70s and ‘80s and her grand-daughter did 15 years after them. Wolf liked that it was inexpensive and her children could ride their bikes to the field.
“I was always involved,” said Wolf, who was in charge of the league for a few years. “It was family friendly and just a great community.”
Travel teams were added to the league in the ‘90s, as well as a concession stand.
“I feel having the league based in Glen Lake strengthens the sense of community in the area,” Minnihan said, “driving by a field and seeing kids playing ball evokes the American spirit and brings people together. It is also part of the history and the culture of the area.”
Jackie said she never would have dreamed what her family started would grow into what the Glen Lake Girls look like today. “It was a lot of fun and a lot work,” she said. “But we had a lot of friends in Glen Lake and they all stepped up to the plate to help.”
Registration for the 2012 Glen Lake Girls Athletic League season is now open. Games begin April 28. For more information and to register, visit galsoftball.org.