Many of the players pictured here from different teams will play with Victoria Reign teams this year. (Photo contributed)

New female hockey teams fill a need

Greater Victoria association seeks players from five to 20 years old

Rick Stiebel/News Staff

One of the goals of newly minted Capital Region Female Minor Hockey Association is to provide more girls with the opportunity to play together on all-female teams.

Although the CRFMHA received official stamps of approval from BC Hockey in March and the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association in May, efforts to form a new association date back to May 2017, said CRFMHA president Ian Fleetwood.

“A lot of work went into getting this done. We’ve taken a model universally accepted in Canada and applied it locally,” he said.

ALSO READ: Victoria Minor Hockey Association looking to make girls fall in love with hockey

The timing of the approval fits in with recommendations in a BC Hockey report released in February that called for the formation of more female hockey associations, Fleetwood noted. “The CRFHMA has already registered 23 girls who are completely new to hockey,” he added. “This many new female players in one season is unprecedented in Victoria.” Statistics show that increasing the number of girls who register makes higher retention sustainable over time as well, he added.

“Our objective goes beyond hockey,” Fleetwood said. “We want to create an environment where girls and young women can take on mentorship and leadership roles. That’s important because it’s not just hockey. We have lots of social events planned throughout the season to create a region-wide social community.”

The CRFMHA plans to have 12 or 13 teams involving girls between the age of five and 20 ready for September. Ice time has already been secured at 13 arenas in the region from Sooke to Sidney, Fleetwood added. “I can’t say enough about the work so many volunteers and parents have done to make this happen.”

That includes the efforts of one of the association’s directors, Ken Jones, a graphic designer who came up with the logo for the teams’ jerseys. The name, Victoria Reign, was selected through a process involving the roughly 130 players who have registered to play this season.

“Each player was allowed to submit two names, and we narrowed it down to five choices, which the players voted on in a series of elimination rounds. It was kind of neat to let them decide,” Fleetwood said.

While the cost of equipment can be prohibitive for some families, the CRFMHA believes it has addressed that as well. “We have a large inventory of loaner equipment we can make available for girls starting out who need it,” Fleetwood said.

Plans for this season, which begins with pre-season games in September and runs from October to mid-March, include games against local girls and boys teams, as well as girls teams from other parts of Vancouver Island. “We plan on a few trips to the Mainland for games as well.” In addition, The CRFMHA is also looking to host two tournaments featuring teams from the Lower Mainland and the U.S.

ALSO READ: Trailblazing Peninsula hockey player talks growing up as the only girl on the team

Another CRFMHA board member, Maegan Thompson, will coach 13- and 14-year-old Reign players this season. Thompson, whose passion for coaching began in 1989 when she was a teenager coaching her younger sister’s ringette team, has coached hockey for 10 years. “My husband and I started coaching hockey before we had kids,” she said. “Then we started coaching our kids. I’m just thrilled about the new association. There were lots of attempts in the past, so it’s nice to finally come to fruition.”

“It’s important to provide all girls with the opportunity to play,” Thompson stressed. “In the past, some girls had to play on integrated teams with boys. We lost some girls from hockey because of that, especially those just starting out. I hope they played another sport because it’s so important to every child for confidence and social skills.”

Team sports are especially important because they provide an understanding of what it takes to be part of a team, she added.

Bianca Parkes, a 17-year-old Belmont Secondary School student, said she has made lifelong friends since she started playing hockey when she was five. “It’s pretty cool and exciting to be part of a first-year team,” she said. “I probably know half the players on my team because we played together on the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies girls team last year.”

Although she loves sports in general, the speed and competitive nature of hockey have added appeal, Parkes noted. “You get exercise without realizing it because you’re having so much fun. I love playing defence because I really like the challenge of stopping the other team from scoring.”

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Victoria man in custody after shooting in 100-block of Gorge Road East

The man is facing recommended charges including assault with a weapon

Victoria Royals draft dynamic Danish forward for tentative fall season

Marcus Almquist drafted to Victoria after international tournaments

Undercover operation exposes prominent human trafficking problem in Greater Victoria

VicPD’s Operation No More took place in mid-June at a local hotel

Langford approves permit for 124-unit mass timber building

Tallwood 1 to be completed by late 2021

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Canada Day tractor incident kills three children, injures seven in Quebec

The tractor driver has been arrested following the accident

Longtime Vancouver Island fishing family hooks into local market over wholesale

Locally caught fish are scarce in fishing towns, an irony one Sointula family is working to change

Tsilhqot’in Nation demands meeting with feds on declining Fraser River chinook stocks

The Nation wants to partner with DFO to rebuild and recover the stocks

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

VIDEO: Prince William and Kate chat with B.C. hospital staff about COVID-19

Seven-minute video posted to Youtube on Canada Day

Most Read