Female hockey players in Jasper will be lighting the lamp—and their inner potential—at the first ever local hockey event tailored specifically to girls.
Three weeks after the debut of the Professional Women’s Hockey League, Female Hockey Day in Jasper will bring together female players, parents, coaches and supporters for the development and celebration of the game.
“We want to empower women in hockey and celebrate females in the sport,” said co-organizer Lynn Wannop.
In late December, Wannop received funding from Hockey Alberta to spearhead the initiative, which takes place concurrently in communities across the province.
Wannop said the event highlights the importance of supporting young females. Among girls who have participated in sport, there is a dramatic dropout rate observed, with one in three girls leaving sport by late adolescence, according to a 2020 study called The Rally Report.
“There’s so many reasons for it,” Wannop said. “Hormones, body dysmorphia, self-confidence, bullying.”
Female Hockey Day wants to change those statistics and build towards gender equity. And to that end, momentum is growing. Female hockey is now one of the fastest growing sports in the province.
Here in Jasper, between the girls teams, the girls that play on the mixed teams, the U18 Grizzlies and a smattering of Pond Hockey participants, about 60 females lace up their skates each week.
“That’s really encouraging,” she said.
There’s more to growing the game than just on-ice participation, however. Which is why Female Hockey Day in Jasper is featuring a host of off-ice sessions, including special guest speakers, yoga, crafts, banquet-style dining and a screening of Wick, a documentary about Canada’s most accomplished female hockey player, Hailey Wickenheiser.
“We want to provide an opportunity for girls to engage in a healthy, active lifestyle and meet some new friends, too,” Wannop said.
Local hockey heroine Cassi Allin is on the event organizing committee and on Saturday will run a scrimmage with the girls. Allin, who at age 15 moved from her home town of Jasper to play Triple-A hockey in Toronto, said she remembers getting dressed in arena boiler rooms or accessible washroom stalls, having to balance on a bucket or a step-ladder to tie her skates.
“Now we have a professional women’s hockey league, an entire day devoted to women’s hockey days and our own dressing rooms! I couldn’t be more proud of the evolution of women’s hockey in Canada and am equally excited for what’s to come for the next generation.”
Female Hockey Day in Canada is free to girls aged 7-17 in the Grande Yellowhead region, and Wannop said there is also an open invitation for adult women who are just starting out in hockey to join the fun, too.
To register, click here.