Empowered to Play - 10 moments of girls and women changing the game
by Madison Koekkoek
In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re shining the light on girls and women impacting our game - from coaching to officiating, playing, cheering and supporting.
Efforts to grow the game are underway across the country. Bringing fun, safe, inclusive hockey to girls will help them grow into strong, confident, powerful women. Our National Women’s Team athletes lead the way through their continued efforts to increase visibility and positively impact the game for generations to come.
Here are 10 remarkable stories that exemplify the involvement and leadership of women in hockey across Canada, from the grassroots to the big stage.
#1 A new Victorian reign
Victoria, B.C., is at the forefront of changing the game for girls. The Capital Region Female Minor Hockey Association is combatting the decline of women's hockey participation and continues to see growth in the game
#2 Learning from legends
Women in coaching is becoming less and less of an anomaly. For Valérie Bois, spending a year learning from Caroline Ouellette and Danièle Sauvageau accelerated not only her skill-set, but her passion to continue blazing bench-boss trails.
#3 Make Hockey More: Tessa Bonhomme
Olympic gold medallist and two-time world champion Tessa Bonhomme reflects on her journey through hockey in Sudbury, Ont., and the life lessons she picked up along the way. Tessa’s continued impact on the game comes via her role as a TSN reporter and anchor.
#4 Forces at play
This is the story of 26-year Canadian Forces veteran Line Laurendeau, who shows her Canadian pride on her sleeve and her hockey jersey. The self-proclaimed ‘hockey nut’ and military hockey player has competed in 17 national championships, twice being named Top Goaltender and once, in 2004, winning a national title.
#5 HC Ambassador: Eleanor Muir
It’s official. Eleanor Muir might be the coolest hockey grandma we could possibly find. Thirty years wearing stripes has turned into mentoring young officials and inspiring not only her grandkids, but the next generation.
#6 The masked history maker
Ève Gascon’s spike in Instagram followers was no accident. It was brought on by her name being etched into the history books as the first woman to tend goal in the Ligue de hockey midget AAA du Québec. Gascon has also caught the attention of legends Charline Labonté (her idol and mentor) and fellow Team Canada alumna Kim St-Pierre.
#7 Two new female hockey associations in Nova Scotia
The growth and development of women's hockey in Nova Scotia is trending upward with the Fundy Highland Female Hockey Association and Cape Breton Blizzard Female Hockey Association as the two newest women's hockey-focused member associations.
#8 HC Ambassador: Shellany Brewer
When people talk about Shellany Brewer, the words selfless, generous and passionate come up often. That’s because her impact on women's hockey in New Brunswick has been immeasurable on keeping girls in the game and making sure they have a place to play close to home.
#9 Hockey Canada Foundation helps grow women's para hockey
In efforts to develop women’s para hockey across Canada, the Hockey Canada Foundation extended a $50,000 grant to support Women’s Sledge Hockey of Canada and its TrailblazeHERs project. The project’s mandate is to inspire over the course of a weekend of inclusion, coach education, female mentorship and fan engagement in Bridgewater, N.S.
#10 An aspirational sister act
Twins often boast about a special magic when it comes to knowing one another. For Jordyn and Kyla Bear, members of the Ochapowace Cree First Nation, they bring this magic to the ice. The inspirational pair are community leaders when it comes to hockey and chasing their dreams.
Every year, Hockey Canada is proud to support the 13 members across the country in initiatives to grow the game for girls. This includes supporting programs such as Esso Fun Days and the First Shift, providing the opportunity to spark a lifelong love for the game. For more on women's hockey and girls-focused programming, visit HockeyCanada.ca/Hockey-Programs.
To donate to the Hockey Canada Foundation’s Hockey is Hers campaign, go to HockeyCanada.ca/Foundation.