All for fun and all for girls.
Over 50 young female hockey players from 11 minor hockey associations took part in a day-long fun tournament this past weekend in Penticton.
Hosted by the Penticton Minor Hockey Association, the event was for girls ages nine to 12. Twenty older girls helped out with the tournament, including mentoring players on the benches.
“PMHA decided to host it to give this age group of girls an opportunity to do something that was just for them,” said Paul Parkinson, a PMHA board member who helped organize the tourney.
“The design isn’t overly competitive but the girls still take it very seriously and want to do well. They played a lot of hockey but there were still lots of smiles at the end of it.”
There were even a few kids who were under the age of nine playing, “including Kaylie Vancha from Summerland, who is still U9 but stood tall in a full-size net facing shots from some of the top U13 girls in the region.”
The girls registered as individuals and were then placed on teams that played in a four-on-four format.
“It gives them a chance to make new friends and play in new situations, and for some, take on new roles,” added Parkinson.
For many of the players it was their first time on skates since spring and is a good kick-off to the upcoming season.
“Apart from the players, the biggest success was the mentors. They all spent the entire day on the benches and in the trenches with the teams they were assigned to,” said Parkinson.
“They all embraced the role and we even had some mentors offer to stay longer and help with another team, after their first team was finished.”
However, Parkinson did get some constructive criticism from one of the young players: “She told me that she had fun but next year we need Timbits.”
The idea for the event came to fruition in June at a BC Hockey annual general meeting, when the provincial group decided to sanction the tournament. BC Hockey provided the jerseys and ice costs were covered by the BC Hockey Female Zone program.
It is hoped the event will return on an annual basis.
Mark Brett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Penticton Herald