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GIVING IT A TRY – Young female hockey players are seen on the ATCO ice at the Canada Games Centre during World Girls’ Ice Hockey weekend on Saturday. Photo submitted by PAT TOBLER

Hockey players participate in global event

The World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend was held this past Saturday from coast-to-coast and in nationals across the globe.

By John Tonin on October 9, 2019

The World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend was held this past Saturday from coast-to-coast and in nationals across the globe. Whitehorse was no different as young girls tried the game over two events.

The weekend is supported by the International Ice Hockey Federation and has seen thousands of participants take part since 2011.

World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend is open to national federations, leagues, clubs, teams or any group that has a passion for sharing hockey with the next generation of female hockey players.

The organizers at the local level can make the event as big or small as they want.

“We had the freedom to plan our own event and they just support us with promoting the event and they send up some swag for the girls,” said Pat Tobler.

“What we decided as the Yukon Female Hockey Club was to do a couple of events that allowed girls to get together and try hockey.”

The Whitehorse event began with a drop-in floor hockey game at École Émilie Tremblay before moving to the ATCO ice at the Canada Games Centre for a try hockey event.

Tobler said the number of girls signed up for hockey this year is encouraging but the Yukon Female Hockey Club is still trying to draw new players.

“We have 75 girls signed up in Whitehorse minor or just the girls’ ice-time,” said Tobler. “It’s a good number but it’s not really enough to do too many girls only things so we are still trying to promote girls hockey and get more girls to play.

“Up here I think it’s a work in progress. Seventy-five girls is a good start and it allows us to go on these trips but the goal is to have enough for a couple of teams here so that they can play together on a consistent basis.”

The World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend brought out some new faces to the rink.

“We seemed to get around 14 girls that signed up and tried the on-ice part,” said Tobler. “We sold it as a bring a friend to try hockey event. Some didn’t like it and left the ice early but the vast majority stuck around and some of the girls I hear are going to sign up for the girls’ weekly ice time.”

The IIHF website says women’s ice hockey is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world and Tobler said at the territorial level that is where the growth lies.

“That’s the growth part for hockey these days,” said Tobler. “When we take teams down south for tournaments it’s just amazing in the larger centres there are large and vibrant associations for female hockey. They’ll have several teams in each age category and that’s really where the growth is for hockey these days.”

Tobler said the girls realized the scope of the event, that their peers around the globe were taking a crack at hockey.

“We talked to them about it,” said Tobler. “They got excited about it and I think any time you talk to the girls about what’s going on with girls hockey they get really excited about it.”

Tobler pointed to the example of the girls trying to pick a new team name.

“We are trying to get a team nickname for the girls’ side,” said Tobler. “We asked the girls to design a jersey and come up with a name and we got some pretty remarkable responses. We got a good 25 responses.”

Some examples of submitted names were the Raven Warriors and the Wolves.

Tobler said there is momentum going forward for girls’ hockey in the territory. Last year, the female hockey program saw some success at Outside tournaments. Those results Tobler believes will have a positive impact on the growth.

“When you have success as a team when you go out, it sure motivates the organizers and the girls to keep involved in hockey that’s for sure,” said Tobler.

The atom team is looking at a tournament in mid-November and the peewee and the female development teams are still planning what their next tournaments are going to be.

The Arctic Winter Games will also be a big upcoming tournament for female hockey players in the territory.

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