The first practice of the season for an ambitious Yellowknife girls’ hockey team took place at the weekend.
YK Minor Hockey’s female Wolfpack is entering its first season as a permanent team with weekly training, having banded together last year for a number of tournaments.
“Girls’ hockey in Yellowknife continues to grow,” said coach Dan Schofield. “There are a number of very, very competitive girls that are, skill-wise, very strong. They just need an opportunity to play female hockey at a high level.
“The girls range from about 12 to 18. There are some extremely strong girls that – at 12 years old – you know they’re going to move on to university hockey or some kind of school academy and play much better hockey.
“We have an obligation to help those girls along to the elite level.”
The team already has a strong tournament record, having won a major competition in Richmond, BC, at the end of last season.
Arctic Winter Games ambition
In future, Schofield expects his team to enter four or five tournaments per season – and win at least 50 percent of all available titles.
“The female Wolfpack allows the same opportunity to the girls as it does the boys – an opportunity for those who are very skilled, committed, and have a goal set for themselves to play stronger hockey, to play in tournaments down south,” Schofield told Moose FM.
“Many of these girls will make the Arctic Winter Games teams, so one of the goals will also be to win gold at the Arctic Winter Games.
“Right behind this age group there’s another group of about 10 or 12 girls that are also very strong and coming up. It’s YK Minor Hockey’s job to continue to grow the sport, encourage girls to play, and continue to offer them an opportunity to play at a competitive level.”
The City of Yellowknife’s work to install a new ice plant has disrupted the fall schedules of many ice-based sports, and minor hockey is no exception.
Despite weeks of restricted ice time ahead, Schofield believes many of his players can expect to six to eight sessions per week – including three with the development program and another three in the minor hockey system.