Southern peninsula residents may not be eager for the upcoming season of ice, but you couldn’t tell that by the skaters at the Kevin Bell Arena on Sunday. Joining in a global opportunity for girls to explore the sport of ice hockey, females of all ages, from the central to the southern Kenai Peninsula, slipped into skates and took to the ice to see what the sport is all about.
“We had about 30 skaters and about eight helpers,” said Karen Weston, who helped organize the event in Homer. “Most of the skaters were between 8 and 14 (years of age), but we had adults of all skill levels skating, too.”
Not a day for intense instruction, the ice time was a celebration of girls and women playing hockey, part of a larger world-wide event sponsored by the International Ice Hockey Federation with thousands of girls expected to participate. Other such weekends have occurred annually since 2011, with another scheduled for 2015.
“Women’s ice hockey is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, thanks to events like this one and similar programs that are being run in many countries,” according to the IIHF website.
The goals of the weekend were to introduce basic skills that make hockey a positive, fun and safe experience; learn about opportunities for hockey in the area; learn about sportsmanship and teamwork; and meet others who are interested in the sport.
The Homer event included a scrimmage of “jamboree” pond hockey.
“That means we took all the girls and women that showed up and split them into six teams and then the teams played 10-minute games against each other,” said Weston.
Having experienced a day of fun on the ice, participants can continue with the hockey season ahead and long into the future, “hopefully a little more aware of how many other girls and women support the sport of hockey in our area,” said Weston. “I am hoping that by getting a chance to play recreational hockey with other girls and women, the younger girls will see hockey as a life-long sport, not just something they are involved in right now.”
Those interested in learning more about girls ice hockey can contact Emily Hutchinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at email@example.com.