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

Man who killed Langford teen attended her memorial service, demonstrates little remorse

Parole Board of Canada documents reveal factors in parole decision

Victoria contractors file civil claims for work on Sooke Tim Hortons, Petro Canada

Contractors file civil suits against Petromaxx, T’Sou-ke First Nation

Victoria Shamrocks seize series lead in dramatic fashion

Senior lacrosse returns to The Q Centre Sunday at 6 p.m.

Oak Bay father charged with double murder takes the stand

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths of his two daughters

Raccoon hits vehicle head on, captured on video

One of many strange sights on Sunday for one Victoria cyclist

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria cases in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Liberals block hearings into scathing ethics report on SNC-Lavalin affair

Dion concluded in his report last week that Trudeau broke the Conflict of Interest Act

Retired Richmond fisherman wins record-breaking $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Island manslaughter suspect found not guilty in Supreme Court

Court accepts accused’s argument of self-defence for 2017 incident in Courtenay

‘Unsubstantiated’ bomb threat against CP Rail in Revelstoke

On Aug. 18, a bomb threat was made against CP Rail in Revelstoke

Most Read