The Lake Cowichan Minor Hockey Association wants more girls playing hockey.
A comparatively untapped populace, not enough girls are playing hockey, the association’s female development coordinator Greg Clayton said.
“Basically, what I’m trying to do is encourage girls to join hockey, and to play hockey,” he said.
To encourage this hockey-playing, Clayton and a handful of other local coaches have begun scheduling special girls-only ice times, the first of which held Monday, October 3.
After only one ice time, Clayton is deeming the program a success, as five of the girls who showed up have expressed an interest in signing up for hockey in the future.
The ice times are special, because girls like playing with other girls.
“Genders tend to have a lot more fun when they’re together,” Clayton said.
When girls play hockey with other girls, they get to be the superstars, instead of the boys.
The key is fighting stigmas against female hockey players.
“It wasn’t long ago that female hockey players were shunned,” Clayton said. “Time does change, but stigmas don’t.”
These stigmas don’t make sense, as most anyone can play hockey and have fun doing so, he added.
“It’s not really a sport that shuts you down. You can play at any age… A lot of people don’t realize that girls have a great opportunity in hockey.”
Ice times are for one hour, during which time the first half consists of practices and stretches, and the second half scrimmage games. They take place from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Ice times have been scheduled for October 17, November 7 and 21, December 5 and 19, January 9 and 23, February 6 and 20, and March 5 and 12.
In addition to the ice times at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, special girls-only competitive teams have been created at the Cowichan Valley district level.
This year’s banning of body checking in minor hockey throughout Vancouver Island has further encouraged female players’ participation in the sport.