The excitement surrounding Canada’s success in women’s hockey at last month’s Olympics has generated even more interest in the sport. Riding that wave, as part of an annual call to put new players on the rosters, the Woolwich Girls Minor Hockey Association is holding a Come and Try Girls Hockey event on March 24 at the Woolwich Memorial Centre.
“I think typically people expect girls to do [something like] dance, but more and more, hockey is really growing throughout our region, especially this year with women’s hockey doing so well in the Olympics,” said Woolwich Wild scheduler Jacinta Faries. “There’s a resurgence of interest in girls’ hockey.”
The day is a chance for local girls aged 4 to 12 to explore the uncharted (frozen) waters of the sport so close to the community’s identity and see what is involved in a typical hockey practice.
“They might have played hockey on the street with friends and siblings and they want to find out what it’s like on skates – ‘Do I actually like it?’ It gives them a chance to come out and try without investing for the whole season,” Faries said.
While the prospects are usually interested in a general experience, it’s the parents who often find the information they need during the session, she added.
“Sometimes it’s just, ‘What’s involved in girls’ hockey?’ So it’s as simple as that. Sometimes you get parents that are a little concerned because they think it’s a contact sport similar to the boys’ side of things. There’s no body checking in girls’ hockey and sometimes that puts parents’ minds at ease to find that out.”
The association is seeing players join the association at younger ages, a sign the sport is taking off for girls, said Faries.
“We’re having a lot of young girls join that we didn’t used to; we have our rookie program now for four- to six-year-olds. It’s really growing on the bottom end, that’s a big part of the goal; to attract those girls so they’ll come out and try it. And, they’re the cutest; watching four-year-olds playing hockey is so cute.”
Growing up in a hockey town like Elmira doesn’t hurt either, Faries noted.
“Just looking at my own daughter. She grew up surrounded by hockey; all of her brothers played hockey. Everywhere you go there’s a lot of emphasis on hockey.”
All girls must have a CSA approved helmet and facemask, skates, stick and gloves to participate in the Come and Try event on March 24 at the WMC. If families don’t possess the equipment they can contact Faries at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-669-8625. Arrival time is 5:30 p.m. and girls hit the ice at 6 p.m. For additional information, check out the Woolwich Wild website (www.woolwichwild.com).