For two Cowichan Valley girls playing hockey on the only bantam girls’ rep team — Victoria Royals bantam A — on Vancouver Island turned out to be an awesome experience this year.
The team recently competed in B.C. Hockey’s Female Bantam A Championships, and came away with the bronze medal.
Katie Ferguson of Lake Cowichan and her pal Robin Flemming of Duncan formed the “Cowichan Connection” on the team of 13- and 14-year-old girls from around the island who were successful in making the team this year. The Gazette caught up with Ferguson over spring break to hear how it has all played out.
“I started hockey when I was seven or eight,” Ferguson said. “I never really liked hockey when I was little, but then last year I really started to like it.”
Ferguson was playing in the Midget hockey league in Lake Cowichan when the hockey bug bit her, and she found out about the Bantam rep team, based in Victoria. Along with about 30 other young girls in her age group, she went for the tryouts over the summer and found out in September that she made the cut.
“I’m still at school here, but I’m in Victoria five times a week,” said the smiling teen. “It’s worth it, I love it.”
For a girl who was used to playing hockey with a boys team, Ferguson says it’s “a lot funner” playing with an all-girls team.
“I had a lot of trouble when I played boys cause I was never on the ice, and I never got the puck passed to me,” she said frankly. “There was a lot of singling me out.”
Ferguson’s mother says it has been quite a year, but she and her husband have supported their daughter and watched her aptitude for hockey develop through the playing for the rep team.
“At first we thought, ‘How is she going to react to five times a week down to Victoria?’ but never once did she complain,” Debbie Ferguson said. “And she’s done straight As too at school.”
Now that the young right wing player has had a taste of training and playing hockey with an all-girls team and for a rep league, she wants to continue with that level of playing.
“I am going to try out again for the Bantam team next year,” she said in reply to a question about her future goals. “I want to play hockey, (eventually) I’d like to play on a national women’s hockey team in Canada.”
Ferguson adds that one of her mentors is Lake Cowichan’s Katelyn Atchison, whose hockey career she has followed closely. Now in her third year at the University of Alberta, Atchison plays for the Alta. champs, the Fort Saskatchewan Fury.