Divas turn jamboree into tradition

Kevin Bell Arena filled up with 83 women from Healy, Anchorage, Kenai, Homer, Wasilla and Soldotna, ready to play hockey. This year’s winter jamboree tournament theme, Villains and Heroes, saw team names such as “Wrap-A-Round Witches” while players warmed up in superhero capes. 

The Goal Scoring Goodfellas won the jamboree.

“I love all of the positive attitudes and the supportive atmosphere. Everybody is there to have fun,” said Homer Diva player Ori Badajos, who played on the Goodfellas. “The games were still competitive and sometimes intense, but at the same time there was always an air of goofiness and fun that you don’t see at other tournaments.”

The Jamboree-style tournament meant that the teams were comprised of a mix of players from various towns and cities. Though the Divas have played many of these teams in state-wide tournaments, the players mixed and mingled at the jamboree for a time meant to build community, Badajos said.

“Seeing how many ladies have made this tournament an annual hockey tradition is something the Divas should be proud of,” said Homer Hockey Association board President Shelly Laukitis.

Raising $3,500 last weekend, this fundraiser put on by the Homer Divas supports youth and adult scholarships at Kevin Bell Arena, making hockey possible for many, Laukitis said. The Diva women’s hockey team takes their commitment to the rink seriously and is involved in all aspects of operations — driving zambonis, refereeing games, coaching, and organizing tournaments — making them a force on and off the ice. 

Badajos said playing on the Divas changed her life. She joined when she had two small children.

“I needed an active sport and the support of friends to keep me happy and sane during the dark Homer winters,” she said.

“Recreation in all forms makes for a stronger and healthier community,” Laukitis said. “What could be better in a dark Alaskan winter?”