Hayley Schaefer playing for the Royals. “When you’re skating down the ice with the puck on your stick it’s such a rush.” (Courtesy of Mark Schaefer)

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

When faced with lack of opportunity for girls, Hayley Schaefer played her way into boys teams

When Hayley Schaefer was two and a half years old she hiked the Diamond head trail in Hawaii, stubbornly refusing any help from her parents. So they weren’t much surprised when her friend Marlene invited her to a Lace Em Up session at the Panorama Ice Rink and she came off the ice saying, “I want to do this!”

Like many girls, Schaefer found limited opportunities on the Island hockey scene so decided to rise to the challenge of playing her way onto boys teams.

ALSO READ: Governing bodies accused of ‘destroying’ girls’ hockey by Island’s top team

Schaefer, who plays centre, said that her skills did the talking and any misgivings from her new team-mates quickly turned to respect.

“Luckily I knew the guys from school so it wasn’t too awkward and the guys accepted me, which was pretty neat,” she says.

She started as the only girl on the Peninsula Eagles boys’ Novice team and played for them through Atom, Peewee and Bantam levels. At Atom level, she also joined a newly formed girls team, which swept almost all the competition giving Schaefer a taste for winning banners and tournaments.

When it was time to join the Bantam division, Schaefer realized she would have to also try out for the rough and tumble boys’ Rep team if she was to continue her development. She was placed on the C Major team before progressing to the Rep B team in her second year. Shaefer says she grew in confidence and, as the only girl, enjoyed winning spots on the teams ahead of other competitive boys.

ALSO READ: North Saanich soccer sensation takes game to next level in Iceland

After playing in hard-hitting Rep boys hockey for two years, she discovered Spring Hockey and was selected for the South Island Royals A team. In her three years with the Royals, the team achieved great runs in the provincial championships, coming away with gold and silver medals. Another successful tournament run was at “WickFest”, winning a silver medal at the Hayley Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival.

Schaefer says she just loves hockey and would play it any time she could, often hitting the ice six times a week.

“I’m a super energetic person, I love skating as it’s an enclosed area to get out all your energy and when you’re skating down the ice with the puck on your stick it’s such a rush,” she says.

While at the Parkland hockey academy, her coach helped her secure a $1,500 bursary from the Sidney Retreads old-timer hockey team in recognition of her commitment to the sport.

ALSO READ: Canada Women’s Rugby 7s Team land at home after series triumph

Schaefer has now aged out of the Royals but leaves behind a legacy for other girls to follow. She hopes that opportunities for girls will increase in the next few years.

“I know there are some girls who don’t feel comfortable playing with the guys, so for their sake it would be super nice to have more options, rather than just the house team and the really competitive team. There should really be an in between for those girls who don’t want to be super super competitive but still want to play up a level.”

For now, Schaefer plans to explore her love of climbing and outdoor pursuits. One thing’s for sure though, she says laughing, hockey will always remain a part of her life.

“I’ll definitely go back to hockey in the future. Drop hockey after this year? No, I don’t think I could ever do that.”



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: Saanich resident shocked when trespasser licks security camera, rummages through mail

‘I found the situation really bizarre,’ said the Gordon Head resident

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Bulk or boxed candy? Trick-or-treat maps help Canadian families prepare for Halloween

Census Mapper uses 2016 census data to predict busiest neighbourhoods

Black Press Media celebrates women who are making a difference

Helping others is the cornerstone of the work Shannon Drew does in… Continue reading

Goldstream Food Bank on the search to fill Christmas Hampers with toys

Volunteers are looking for new toys for infants to 11-year-olds

VIDEO: Explosion, fire sends woman running from Saanich home

Heavy smoke in the area, crews on scene

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read