Female hockey players hitting the ice in rinks on Prince Edward Island can skate to the very top of the game, says the manager of Team P.E.I.
“Yes, the doors are open, there’s no question,’’ said Dawn Moase.
“The doors are open that scouts will see you and will identify you and then from there it is just working towards reaching your goal, whether it’s achieving a university degree or whether its striving for playing for Team Canada under the Under-18 group or under the Under-22 group.’’
Moase, who has managed Team P.E.I. since 1995, said there are great opportunities for female players to develop their skills here at home under available solid coaching. As women come up through the ranks, those that get tagged as elite players will quickly draw the attention of a lot of universities and scouts, she said.
“And then from there, that individual gets a lot of opportunity to pick and choose,’’ she said.
Women’s hockey in P.E.I. over the past decade has shot up like a cannonating blast from the blue line into the top shelf.
Female registration has skyrocketed from 4-97 to 1,4-07, according to Hockey Canada.
Alberton native Joanne Weeks, 35, can recall when women playing hockey in P.E.I. was a rare sight.
Weeks, the assistant manager of Team P.E.I. that is on the ice doing battle this week in Charlottetown at the Esso Women’s Nationals hockey championships, played hockey with the boys from age four to 13. Her run ended there because there was checking in pee wee and girls weren’t allowed.
She said not many girls were being pushed towards hockey as she was growing up. However, she never felt isolated or harassed as a girl playing in what at the time was far from a girl’s sport.
She had a good run in hockey, some 30 or so years, before deciding to get out of it last year after a stint on Team P.E.I. and finally wrapping up her playing days in a recreation league.
Weeks says no particular personality comes to mind when considering what type of girl might be a good candidate for hockey. She simply advises parents that if their daughter wants to give the sport a try, let them.
“Because you can look at a person and think, ‘Ah, she doesn’t look like a hockey player’ but put gear on her and you wouldn’t believe (the transformation),’’ she said.