By Sara Moulton
Girls ruled the Fernie Memorial Arena last weekend as the Elk Valley Minor Hockey Association hosted a hockey jamboree for young female players.
Spanning the weekend of January 20 to 21, the event is one of five jamborees held throughout the season to bring together players from around the Kootenays and northern Montana. The girls, aged 11 to 19, were mixed into teams with those from other associations, allowing the opportunity to learn new skills and make new friends.
The enthusiasm of the girls was obvious throughout the weekend as they excitedly chatted while watching their friends on the ice. Cassie Vande Vrede travelled from Whitefish for the jamboree and explained some of the benefits that are gained from having the teams divided into groups of equal strength.
“I think it increases our skill level and it’s just really fun to play with girls from the other teams,” said Vande Vrede.
In addition to the on-ice activities, the jamborees are a fun way for the girls to get to know players from other associations. Nicole Klein, an Elk Valley local, has been involved in hockey for several years and enjoys the social aspect of the events compared to regular league games.
“The jamborees definitely help, because you recognize people from out of town and become friends. It’s really cool,” said Klein.
Stella Hutchinson is the trainer of the Elk Valley girls’ team and was thrilled with the success of the jamboree. As well as thanking the coaches and parents for their efforts, Hutchinson was keen to acknowledge the great support they have received from the greater community.
“Fiorentino Bros. Contracting in Cranbrook generously donated the funds to purchase the jerseys, which AnyWear Garments did a superb job of making for us,” said Hutchinson.
“Canadian Tire in Fernie are also great supporters of the girls and provided a hockey bag to store all the new jerseys.”
The Elk Valley Hockey Association are always looking for new players and encourages girls to get in contact if they are interested in becoming involved. The next regular season game for the Elk Valley girls will be against Whitefish at noon on Sunday, February 20.