Its spring again in Canada and with the anticipation of exchanging our jackets and boots for shorts and sandals it’s always a great time of year for us as Canadians. The snow is melting, the neighbourhood streets are full of people and although the hockey season might be over, there are plenty of sports on TV to keep us occupied. The NCAA March Madness and NHL playoffs are action packed, baseball is back and the Masters always reminds us that golf season is just around the corner. But there’s one sport that caught my eye this spring like never before; The Women’s World Hockey Championships, and the future of women’s hockey is bright.
In front of a crowd of over 18,000 screaming fans in Ottawa, the US and Canadian Women’s national teams put on the most exciting hockey game I’ve watched all year. The pace was fast, the players were bigger than ever and the agility and skill they showed as they competed for the World Championship was a good reminder of how far the sport has come. It was just 23 years ago that Canada donned pink jerseys and battled the USA in an epic game in the Nation’s Capital. Since then female hockey enrollment has grown from 8,000 to over 90,000 in Canada alone and TV coverage and sponsors are increasing each year.
The new class of national level players is testament to the steadied growth in both popularity and talent of girl’s hockey all over the world. At Canadian Hockey Enterprises we like to think we’ve had a hand in that growth. Since the 2002 we’ve been offering Just for Girls hockey programs featuring instruction from US and Canadian Olympians and they’ve gone from 46 players to over 700 in five locations since then. Olympians such as Meghan Agosta, Gillian Apps and Caroline Ouellette create a fun and inspiring atmosphere for the girls to learn the game and hone their skills. They share their journeys from minor hockey to the Olympic podium, teach them the skills and work ethic required to achieve their goals, and most importantly, remind everyone that the reason they play hockey is for fun.
Women’s recreational hockey is improving and increasing just as quickly. Hockey moms are sick of watching their husbands and kids have all the fun and are picking up sticks in droves. Every year CHE has more and more women’s teams attend our tournaments and Camps in Montreal, Lake Placid, Niagara Falls, Banff, Kelowna, Whistler and Las Vegas. The ladies teams come in determined to win the cup, but win or lose, they are all there for a good time and you’ve never seen someone have more fun than a ladies team in Montreal.
The sport of women’s hockey is looking healthier than it ever has before. The parity between national teams is increasing each year, but the competitiveness of the Canadian and US programs has drastically escalated the quality of players individually and as teams and it’s made for some fantastic hockey to watch. No concussion issues, no goons, and no lockouts, just two extremely skilled teams battling for a Women’s World Title; now that’s hockey.
Canadian Hockey Enterprises