When Marissa Jordan of the North Peace Eagles ladies hockey team heard that the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) was declaring October 4 to 6 World Girls Ice Hockey Weekend, she thought it would be a great way to expand something the team is already doing.
In August, members of the Eagles held a free session for girls wanting to try out the sport, and the response was amazing.
“We had almost 50 ladies out over two ice times,” said Jordan. “We looked at our ice (times) and re-evaluated some of our objectives for the season and we said, ‘You know, we want to use some our ice and some our knowledge to share (the game) with girls and women who wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunityto play.’”
As a result, the Eagles held a similar event last weekend to coincide with World Girls Ice Hockey Weekend.
“I applied through Hockey Canada to run a sanctioned event. The City supported us with the ice time. We had volunteers from the Eagles and the (female) Predators come out,” said Jordan.
“We had a great day teaching some skills and having fun. It’s been awesome to see the response.”
One young lady taking part in the sessions was 15-year-old Carmyn Szoo.
“My family is big on hockey so I learned to skate when I was really little. My dad thought I would be a hockey player when I was younger but now I guess I’m starting at 15.”
Szoo has played soccer competitively for nearly five years, but no winter sports.
“Soccer isn’t that interesting for me anymore, so my parents said why don’t you try hockey. There’s a women’s team that’s holding tryouts for girls.”
Based on her age and experience, though, Szoo admits she’s not quite ready to play for the Eagles. “I’ll just keep going to the Learn to Play events until I get better and, maybe if I get good enough, I’ll try out for the Predators.”
Learn to Play is a series of sessions which teach the fundamentals of hockey. While players need to provide their own equipment, and pay an insurance fee, everything else is covered.
For specific details on the sessions, you can check out the North Peace Eagles Facebook page.
— Dave Lueneberg