You don’t see many of them these days, not in the B.C. Peace Region.
All-girl hockey tournaments have all but disappeared in the area as female interest in the sport seems to be in decline.
The Clearview Colts are looking to change that.
On Dec. 8 and 9 the Peewee hockey team, which plays in the All Peace Hockey League, hosted a regional all-girls tournament at the Clearview Arena, welcoming players from Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, High Prairie and even Fort Nelson.
“It’s not too common,” said Colts’ coach Rob Larson about all-girl tournaments. “We tried last year and couldn’t get enough teams. The lady who was organizing the tournament had to phone from Edmonton to Fort Nelson to track some teams down.”
“It was the first ever event that we’ve hosted and we’re looking to build on it and move forward for the future.”
For two days two teams from the APHL (Clearview and High Prairie) as well as a combined team of players from Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, and another from Fort Nelson hit the ice to “play fair, play hard and have fun” (the tournament’s motto).
“It went really well,” Larson said. “There was lots of enthusiasm and some of the girls that played on Fort Nelson and Dawson Creek/Fort St. John play for boys teams, so to play with all girls was kind of exciting for them.”
“The games were mostly relatively close and competitive so I think they were all happy with the experience. It was well organized.”
All four teams played each other in a round-robin before playoffs on Sunday afternoon, which had Clearview and High Prairie battling it out for first and Fort St. John/Dawson Creek up against Fort Nelson for third.
Fort St. John/Dawson Creek beat Fort Nelson in a close 2-1 game to take third, while Clearview thumped High Prairie in a tournament rematch.
“We won the tournament,” Larson said. “In the round robin we went 2-1, losing to High Prairie and then we played them again in the final and beat them 9-1.”
“It was a peewee tournament but we allowed over-aged players as well. The team from Dawson had about eight and Fort Nelson had about four. We only had two so there were some pretty good players on some of those teams but they hadn’t played as much as a team while us and High Prairie are in a league.”
With so few girl players in many Peace Region areas, there were some younger girls playing as well, making the age range of the tournament 11-14. How Clearview (a much smaller community than Fort St. John) has far more girls playing Peewee level hockey than many bigger centres is a mystery to Larson.
“Years ago Fort St. John did have a good girls program and for some reason it’s gone by the wayside,” he said.
“Where this came from [in Clearview] was we didn’t have enough boys to compete at younger ages so we got girls out, then the girls had fun and more girls would come. Suddenly we had more girls than boys,” he said laughing.
The Colts have two APHL games under their belt and are 1-1 for the season. They are looking forward to hosting more tournaments in the future and to make it to provincials one day.