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From me to you, highlighting challenges faced by girls

Dear Daughters, Women’s Hockey Has Come A Long Way!

Dear Daughters,

Playing hockey for Saint Mary's University at the CIAU Championships 1998

Playing hockey for Saint Mary’s University at the CIAU Championships 1998

Women’s hockey is growing faster than I could ever have imagined in the Halifax metro area. When I first started playing in Cole Harbour, back in the mid 80s, there were only 4 other girls my age who played. There were no all-girls teams in the area and there were certainly no junior high, high school, or University women’s teams for me to look forward to playing on. In fact, by the time I was ready to enter the Bantam level for the 1988-1989 season, which is when body contact began back then, the girls were told we could only play house league, where there was no body contact. That is when I left hockey for a bit.
Of course I could not stay away from the greatest game on Earth for too long. I only missed two seasons and then I got my shot at playing the game with body contact when I played Midget C in Cole Harbour. Two of the four girls I used to play with in the beginning were also on my team. Again, we played with the boys, as female hockey was still yet to be well-established in my hometown. And unlike today, there were no separate changing rooms for girls playing hockey, so we dressed in the same room as the boys. The stories I could tell you from this experience is a whole other blog entry!

In 1993 I began studying at Saint Mary’s University and playing varsity soccer for the Huskies. Much to my happiness, I found out that the Huskies also had a hockey team I could play on – an all girls’ team!!!!! The women’s hockey program at Saint Mary’s did not go varsity until my final year there when I helped the Huskies win the inaugural AUAA (now the AUS) title in the 1997-1998 season. We represented the AUAA for the first time ever at the CIAU (now the CIS) Women’s Hockey Championships held at Concordia University! Up until this historic final season, Saint Mary’s University competed in the Nova Scotia Women’s Hockey League (NSWHL). The NSWHL officially began play in the 1994/95 season, with Saint Mary’s as one of the league’s seven teams.

After my final season with the Huskies I took another break from the game to further my education, get married and have babies. I played ball hockey in the summer to fulfill my need for hockey. I returned to the NSWHL in the 2008-2009 season as a spare player and have been playing full time in the league since the beginning of the 2009-2010 season.

I want to know more about the history of women’s hockey and women’s hockey as it is now. I am amazed at how far we have come and look forward to what the future holds for this fascinating sport!

So please female hockey players, leave a comment right on the blog or email me and tell me all about your hockey experiences – good or bad. I want to know where you played, when you played, all-girls or mixed teams, any details you care to share. Here is a summary of my experience that you can follow:

  • January 1985, Atom D for Cole Harbour on mixed team, same dressing room, no other girls on my team, first year of hockey ever!
  • 1985-1986 season, Atom DD for Cole Harbour on mixed team, same dressing room, no other girls on my team
  • 1986-1987 season, Pee Wee C for Cole Harbour on mixed team, same dressing room, one or two other girls on my team
  • 1987-1988, Pee Wee B for Cole Harbour on mixed team, same dressing room, one other girl on my team
  • 1988-1989 season, told girls we could only play house league due to body checking in the competitive Bantam levels, decided not to play the next two seasons
  • 1991-1992 season, Midget C for Cole Harbour on mixed team, same dressing room, two other girls on my team
  • 1993-1997, Saint Mary’s University Club team, all girls team, Saint Mary’s played in first ever season of NSWHL (1994-95)
  • 1997-1998, Saint Mary’s University Varsity team, all girls, won inaugural AUAA Championships and competed at CIAU Championships at Concordia University
  • 1998-2000, Acadia University Women’s Varsity team (I could practice with the team and play with them when they played teams from the NSWHL but not when they played other University teams as I had no years of varisty eligibility left since I played 5 years of varsity soccer)
  • January – April 2008, played in a few tournaments here and there with all girls teams
  • 2008-2009 season, spared with the Warriors in the NSWHL
  • 2009-present, play with Frostbite in the NSWHL
Womens hockey

Watching the women’s hockey final at the CIAU Championships – March 1, 1998

If you played ringette or figure skated, I would also like to know that. I played ringette from 1983 until 1991 when I competed for Nova Scotia at the Canada Games in PEI. I returned to ringette for one season in 2001-2002. My dear daughters all play ringette.

I do not care if you have only been playing hockey for one day, I want to hear from all of you! And boys, you are not excluded! If you had a sister or another female relative playing hockey, or coaching or in any other way involved in the sport, please tell me what you remember or know about them and their experiences in hockey. If you were the teammate of a female hockey player I certainly want to hear from you! Parents, aunts, uncles…I want all the stories from all different perspectives! Hope to hear from you soon!

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