Female Hockey
by Jillian D.C., Roncalli Central High, Port Saunders, NF

Audio presentation: Female Hockey

“He skates, he shoots, he scores! He’s a she!” Yes, girls play hockey and even though they may not realize it, female hockey will help shape and mold girls into the ladies they will grow to be. Newfoundland & Labrador is a province where hockey is not uncommon at all, so it comes as no big surprise that when the boys started playing hockey, so did the girls. Girls of all ages and family backgrounds, girls who race home after school and head to the local stadium to ‘gear up,’and girls who skate lines and practice shots all afternoon just to improve their skills. Girls, you know, the opposite sex.

The girls can not do it alone. Hours of instruction, with coaches who are devoted and hard-working, develop true hockey players. The encouragement given by female hockey coaches is truly appreciated and when kind relationships between players and instructors are developed the girls can only improve skating skills, shooting technique and scoring ability. These coaches volunteer hours of free time to work with the girls so they can become better hockey players and better individuals.

Female hockey is a benefit to the participant The time spent in off-the-ice training by individual girls keeps them healthy. Exercise is good for everyone and when these girls get a number of hours weekly being physically active they stay in pretty good shape. It’s obvious a lot of time and effort must be put into hockey. This effort keeps young ladies in top condition for not only hockey but an active lifestyle.

Young girls have a number of problems to face and overcome, it seems, nearly every day of their lives. By partaking in female hockey they are relieving the stress of school, home, and life put on them. Cramming for exams, fighting with younger brothers and struggling to finish homework are just a few examples of their everyday life, and even though playing hockey can also cause tension and stress, it’s temporary and teaches the players to perform even under conditions of pressure. These are great management skills which girls need in home, school and life.

“Go Ashley! You can do it!” Encouragement such as this is often yelled by one girl on the bench to a struggling team member on the ice. The girls are very kind to each other and constantly give encouragement to all their teammates. This may be surprising since teens spend too much time putting down their peers. You will hear comments like “You can do it!” instead of the daily comment, “Loser!”.

You can be sure you’ll never be considered a loser playing female hockey, no matter what the final score is. While practicing with, playing with, winning with and even losing with the same group of girls for a year, or longer, strong ties of friendship are developed and kept for a life time. These are the girls you’ve struggled to finish drills with, battled other teams with and overcame injuries with. Being part of a team fills the girls with a tremendous amount of pride, honour and glory. When the girls think of all the work they’ve put into being a vital part of their team how could they feel anything different? Team involvement doesn’t hold all glory. Sometimes forcing themselves to go to practice or doubting their ability can be a struggle, but accomplishing what they’ve been working for is worth all the effort.

Female hockey also gives the youth an opportunity to travel and experience different communities in their province, even other parts of their country. Traveling from town to town in Newfoundland definitely gives the girls a sense of closeness. Closeness with their team mates, (driving for hours together) and a closeness to the province they live in. Seeing the blue ocean, unique landscape and breathtaking mountains is never tiring. Now, in a lot of cases, when the girls are asked if they’ve ever been to a certain place in Newfoundland, the reply is “Yes! I went there for hockey once.”

It’s obvious female hockey is something worth participating in. So, who says girls can’t play hockey? It’s been proven time and time again, and interest only continues to grow. Female hockey is a gift. Gifts that are priceless, gifts that you can’t trade like hockey cards, and gifts that are permanent and irreplaceable. These are gifts of friendship, hard work, exercise and mostly fun. And as the girls grow into young ladies and eventually women, they will remember their teammates, friends, and experiences that female hockey had provided in their lives.

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