The Chestermere Minor Hockey Association is encouraging young female athletes to continue playing hockey through the first All-Girls Development Day.
On Sept. 27, over 30 female athletes from four years of age to 15, practiced their hockey skills with coaches from the SDR Academy.
“What we noticed as an association, is as the girls in our association get older, they either leave the association to play on all girl’s teams, or they end up quitting hockey,” said the Development Director for Chestermere Minor Hockey, Jason MacNeil.
“We’re trying to start a program at the younger ages to hopefully create an opportunity for them to stick with the sport,” he said.
MacNeil received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from athletes and their parents and is hopeful to have an All-Girls Development Day at least once a month going forward.
“There were a lot of very excited girls coming off the ice. They are usually happy coming from the rink, but it was just another level of excitement,” MacNeil said.
For MacNeil and the Chestermere Minor Hockey Association, keeping all athletes involved in hockey is a top priority.
“When we see a group that’s not staying in, we’re going to try and change it up a little bit. We’re looking to see if we can grow our own program here,” MacNeil said.
Ava Revoal has been playing hockey in Chestermere for four years and enjoyed the opportunity to meet new coaches, and new athletes while learning new skills.
“I always play with boys and have boy coaches, and I thought it was really cool that there were some girls who played ringette and hockey, and girl coaches,” Revoal said.
“I like to play with my friends and learn new skills. I like skating. I’m really fast, so I can skate around the other players,” she added.
During the All-Girls Development Day, Revoal learned how to push the puck, and where to keep her hands while she skated.
“It’s important for the girls, especially at Ava’s age, we see they quit hockey because it’s more geared towards the boys,” Ava’s mother, Celeste Revoal said.
“It’s super nice for them to see the female athletes out there and really see where they can go with it,” she said.
The All-Girls Development Day gave Ava and the other athletes an opportunity to meet elite female athletes, players, and coaches.
“It was great exposure to see the level of hockey that if they have the drive and passion for the game where they can take it,” said Ava’s Father Nathan Revoal.
“How female players interpret the game is very different than male players. Therefore, being able to have them learn from another female, the interpretation of the game is going to be similar,” he said.