All-female hockey association hits the ice in Greater Victoria

All-female hockey association hits the ice in Greater Victoria

Girls and women aged 5-20 will have more opportunity to play and compete

Girls and women longing for more time on the ice will have a better opportunity to play in the upcoming hockey season.

BC Hockey approved the Capital Region Female Minor Hockey Association (CRFMHA) to begin operating in September.

The Association will offer girls and women ages 5-20 the opportunity for recreational and competitive play, with no requirement for previous experience.

“It’s a big step forward for female hockey programming,” said Ian Fleetwood, president of the CRFMHA. “For girls who play right now, there’s a small number of girls teams, but those form variably from year to year… you’re never certain if there’s a girls team in a certain area of town.”

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There are currently three competitive and four recreational female hockey teams in Greater Victoria, made up of 280 players but, Fleetwood said, there’s never a guarantee that the teams will come together.

“It creates some certainty for players and their parents that they’re going to play,” Fleetwood said.

In other areas where this model has been used, 80 per cent of female players opt to play on female teams, rather than joining a boys or men’s team. Fleetwood said that if all things go smoothly, the Association could anticipate seeing a double in the number of players.

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“Right now, for girls age 5-8 there’s no team in the whole city there’s no option for an all girls novice team,” Fleetwood said. “At the other end juvenile teams for girls age 18-20 there’s no all-girls team…with three post-secondary institutions in the area, I think there will be the demand.”

BC Hockey released a report in December recommending five strategies on how to grow female participation in hockey.

Along with creating female hockey associations, the list also included:

• Implement an organizational structure for female hockey programming

• Execute female First Shift programs

• Create female multisport camp pilot

• Pursue female event hosting

• Review and update female player pathway

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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