Burns Lake’s new all-girls hockey team has allowed a safe space for local girls to develop their skills while boosting their confidence.
Team manager Sara Levick said some of the players on the team – which includes girls from nine to 11 years old – had never been on ice before the hockey season began.
“The first day they couldn’t even stand on ice, and now it’s about a month in and they are all just ripping around the rink,” said Levick. “The girls are all working really hard and learning; it’s awesome to see.”
Due to the fact that some of these girls are new to the sport, having an all-girls team makes them feel more comfortable to explore their talents and make mistakes.
“When the boys are there, most of the boys have been playing for a long time; maybe they are more advanced and their skills may be higher at first,” explained Levick. “But with girls they all get to work on the same level; girls in general seem to work well together.”
“I think it really helps them out with their confidence,” she added.
In addition, the all-girls team has made it easier for the girls to bond and develop friendships.
“Even in the locker room the dynamic is different, they love it because they can go there and it’s all girls,” said Levick. “It just works.”
Wendy Shelford-Schneider, president of the Burns Lake Minor Hockey Association, said the all-girls team has been encouraging more local girls to play hockey.
“We have had lots of positive feedback from parents and players,” she said. “We still have girls registering.”
There are currently 11 girls registered – all from the Burns Lake area. They’ve been practicing twice a week at the Tom Forsyth Memorial Arena.
Although Burns Lake has had all-girls hockey teams in the past, this is the first time that Burns Lake has had a team of younger girls.
“There’s always been a team for the bantams, and older girls, but we’ve never had an atoms girls team.”
The girls have come a long way since the beginning of the season and are now preparing for their first tournament in Prince George. The all-girls hockey tournament will take place on Dec. 19-20, 2016.
No boys’ midget and bantam teams this year
When this hockey season began, many local residents were surprised to hear that Burns Lake wouldn’t have boys’ midget and bantam teams this year.
Wendy Shelford-Schneider, president of the Burns Lake Minor Hockey Association, said that registration was low and there was not enough player numbers for a team.
Four midget players and one bantam player have been travelling to Houston every week so that they can continue practicing their hockey skills. Other players have chosen to practice in Fraser Lake.
With the extra players in Houston, this means that players out there get less time on ice.
“Burns Lake Minor Hockey Association has helped other associations by accepting their players in the past when their numbers were low and we are fortunate to have other associations help us out this year by accepting our players,” she added.