Local pucksters lead the way
The 2018 55+ BC Games were announced to be coming to Kimberley and Cranbrook and the players from the Cranbrook Shooters Women’s Hockey Club were excited about the opportunity to compete at home in the annual provincial event.
A team roster of eligible players was started – who would be 55 by 2018? It may just be the only time the women were happy to be considered a more “senior” member of the shinny sisters.
With the growth and popularity of women playing Canada’s sport it just never occurred to the players that their sport wouldn’t be included in the Games.
Imagine the disappointment when the local lady players discovered there wasn’t a division for them. How could that be? Is women’s hockey not considered a normal part of the sporting landscape now thanks in large part to the amazing skill of the Canadian Women’s National team? It has been years since girls and women had to fight for ice time and respect.
The disappointment quickly turned into the same fighting spirit that has brought the game so far in the last few decades. “Let’s make it happen!”
Contact was made to the BC Senior Games Society to determine what was needed to be done to have a Women’s 55+ division added to the list of sports.
Prove there are enough teams and zones represented was the answer.
If we can ice a team from Cranbrook/Kimberley then certainly there must be enough ‘senior’ players throughout B.C. to make this happen.
The players contacted old teammates throughout the province, emails were sent and a Facebook page was created.
A petition of support was circulated at the Golden Women’s Hockey Tournament. Player statistics and letters of support were obtained from BC Hockey, Adult Safe Hockey League and Canadian Adult Recreation Hockey Association.
The response was enthusiastic and supportive on all fronts. All the documentation was compiled and sent to the Rules Committee of the BC Senior Games Society. Official approval was received and celebrated on November 28, 2017.
“We are pleased to have Women’s Hockey join our other 30 sports that a Host Society may choose for inclusion in the 55+ BC Games,” said Cindy Simpson, President of the BC Senior Games Society. “We are very happy that Women’s Hockey will be a part of the Kimberley/Cranbrook Games and look forward to seeing athletes from across B.C. participating.”
From the players’ responses received to date there is good possibility of icing teams from four to six BC Games Zones, including the local hockey gals representing Zone 7. The Kimberley/Cranbrook Host Committee is thrilled with the opportunity to introduce Women’s Hockey to the 55+ BC Games.
“It’s about time, women’s hockey has never been better! We are thrilled to have women’s hockey in the 2018 55+ BC Games for the first time,” said Sandy Zeznik, Co-President of the 2018 Kimberley/Cranbrook 55+ BC Games. “Thank you to Cranbrook Shooters as well as the players across the province for all of your efforts to make it happen!”
The teams will be made up of women who started playing in their youth when “girls weren’t supposed to play” and players who laced up their hockey skates for the first time in their 30s, 40s and 50s. They all play Canada’s favourite sport with a passion for the game and a great appreciation for the opportunity to chase a puck. The 55+ BC Games competition offers a fun experience for the players to compete against players in their age group and they all look forward to going for Gold in September. How cool does that sound!
The Games will be September 11-15, at multiple venues in the area. Volunteers are being sought for a number of area.
Lead image: Cranbrook Shooters Women’s Hockey Club – Back Row: Kayla Smaldon, Cindi McNabb, Lori Graham, Marlyn Donaldson, Carol Canning, Nikki van Engelen, Shauna Walls. Front Row: Mel McFarlane, Cindy Popescul. Missing: Sandy Hughes, Diane Butz, Sharon McDowell, Kelle Maag, Irene Bischler, Gina Alaric, Jean Terpsma. Photos submitted
Kimberley/Cranbrook 2018 55+ BC Games