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Cowichan Valley U11 female hockey team looking for players

‘If you can skate, we can find you some gear’

If you know a girl between the ages of nine and 11 who wants to play hockey, now is the time to sign up.

The Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey Association’s U11 female team is looking for players, and it’s not too late in the season to sign up. Players who register now won’t miss out on tournaments or team fundraising opportunities.

“If you can skate, we can find you some gear,” team manager Shannon McKinlay says.

There are about 40 players on female-only hockey teams in the Cowichan Valley this year. The U18 and U13 teams are set for players this season, but the U11 team only has enough for two lines, which is exhausting for the skaters.

Female hockey has grown exponentially over the last two decades, with many opportunities for players beyond minor hockey. Several players have moved on from the CVMHA to Vancouver Island rep teams or to the hockey academy at Shawnigan Lake School in the last couple of years. And in the last two years alone, three players who started in CVMHA female programs have earned scholarships to play university hockey, including Kamryn Grooms — the daughter of CVMHA president Kelly Grooms — who now plays at Nipissing University in Ontario.

A full crew of four female officials worked a B.C. Hockey League game in Surrey earlier this month, showing that there are opportunities outside of playing as well.

At the same time, the focus for female hockey, especially at the U11 level, is on more than just winning. The players have a lot of fun as well.

“The coaches say they’re a joy to coach,” McKinlay said. “It’s not just about winning. They love the social part.”

CVMHA players had a blast recently when the Vancouver Island Seals female rep team came to the Cowichan Community Centre for an open house on Oct. 16 to mark World Female Hockey Weekend.

For more information about the U18 female team, email shannonbmckinlay@gmail.com

“Everyone loves hockey,” McKinlay said. “Everyone watches hockey in the winter. If they have any desire, they should try it.”

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