Inaugural Alberta Hockey Day celebrates female hockey
Bonnyville was one of the host communities for the inaugural Alberta Hockey Day, which celebrated the female game. On the heels of the matriarch of female hockey, Hayley Wickenheiser’s retirement, it was a natural decision for the Lakeland Jaguars to promote female hockey. Director of Female Hockey, for Cold Lake Minor Hockey, Jay Hall, says the Jags, as they are affectionately known, have a strong program fueled by the desire for all to be able to enjoy the sport of hockey.
“The program starts at the atom level. We also have peewee, bantam, and midget levels,” Hall says with the Jags are hoping to expand into novice next season. “We thought this Alberta Hockey Day was a perfect way to get some younger players.” The day started with a free fun skate for any girls aged 5-8 years old to come try the sport. The older Jaguar girls were on hand to help the younger girls learn some game basics. “Maybe we’ll be able to get a novice Jaguar team; that is the end goal, to have five Jags teams.” The Jaguars are made up of players from Cold Lake, Bonnyville, Pierceland and the small communities in between.
“The earlier the girls get involved, they stay together all the way through [their minor hockey careers],” Hall explains often times with the boys they will move from team to team; whereas the females tend to stick together. “By the time they’re in midgets, they’re pretty close. They’ve played six years together and it’s pretty cool to see. They’re livelong friends.”
“For my two girls, on the peewee team, the big thing is the dressing room,” Hall says the females can’t beat the atmosphere in the locker room. That’s where the real bonding happens and unfortunately (not for lack of trying) cannot be matched on a mixed team, where the females have to be segregated from the male players when getting dressed. “You might have one other girl on the boys’ teams and you’ll hang out with them. But you go in the [female team] dressing room and it’s all girls.”
All four Jaguar teams played following the free fun skate, with the Peewees playing out a double header against Rosetown.
- Atoms vs Kitscoty 6-4 Win
- Peewee vs Rosetown 9-3 & 9-2 Loss
- Bantams vs Elk Point 6-0 Win
- Midgets vs Lac La Biche 4-2 Loss