All are invited to pack the rink at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex for an all-girls battle between the Lacoka Rockets and Lacombe Rockets alumni next Friday.
For the first time ever, on Dec. 21, an alumni game will be hosted as part of an event to create excitement and draw attention to female hockey in the area.
“It’s just a chance to have a fun game, but also to promote girls hockey,” said Organizer and Lacoka Warriors Midget Coach Curtis Huchkowski. “It’s our little way of making sure our communities know we have girls teams and they are actually really good teams.”
At present, the Lacoka Midget team sits third in the North division of the Rocky Mountain Female Hockey League with a 3-3-3-0 record – only four points back of first place. Amongst their more recent achievements is winning gold at the tournament in Okotoks mid-November.
However, despite successes any of Lacoka teams have – Pee Wee, Midget or Bantam – Huchkowski says he feels there is a disconnect with female hockey in central Alberta.
“I think that boys’ hockey is placed at a premium, and girls’ hockey is kind of pushed to the background,” he said. “We’re trying to use this game to promote it to everyone so they know there are girls’ teams, too. Lacoka’s actually been really fortunate that we’ve had some good teams in the last little while, but people don’t know about them.”
The plan is to bring girls hockey to the forefront through the alumni game.
The idea was spurred in part by Hockey Alberta hosting Female Hockey Day in Red Deer Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, including various player development sessions, as well as a Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) game between the Calgary Infernos and Toronto Furies.
However, they wanted to do something more local to grow the game within Lacombe and Ponoka. Given alumni games are prevalent amongst boys’ teams and leagues, it seemed like a good way to promote it.
The idea spread like wildfire, thanks to two fellow coaches of his that were members of the original Lacoka teams, sparking excitement amongst former Lacoka players and those with ties to the local teams. The hope is that excitement will catch on with the rest of the community.
“The girls can play with the boys or even better. They have skill,” said Huchkowski. “It’s not just the young ones – the older players want to play, too, so it’s going to be really interesting.”
With some former players putting their skills to the test in other leagues, he said it’s an opportunity to not just get young girls excited about hockey, but show them that it can open doors and present them with other opportunities later in life, whether it’s schooling, coaching themselves, or playing at higher levels like the CWHL.
Admission to the game is free. Puck drop is at 6 p.m.
A Reds Sports raffle will also take place at the game.