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

Just Posted

Victoria’s Belfry Theatre hosts its first ‘relaxed performance’ for a diverse audience

Performance of Every Brilliant Thing is first to pilot the option

VicPD catches impaired driver near elementary school

Citizens alerted police to driver near James Bay Community School

Car crash at Quadra and Finalyson Streets affects Saturday traffic

VicPD and the Victoria Fire Department responded

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

12 Sooke events to get you into the holiday spirit

From a Santa parade to classicial music, Sooke has it all

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Most Read