Manitoba’s second-biggest metropolis had been void of an area group for ladies aspiring to proceed enjoying hockey at a excessive stage.
Hockey Brandon is including an under-15 ladies AAA hockey group to it’s lineup beginning subsequent season.
“You may clearly inform I’m very enthusiastic about it,” assistant coach Amy Doerksen tells 680 CJOB.
“Having one thing right here for our feminine athletes to feed into, to produce other females to look as much as, I believe it’s enormous.”
Taking part in hockey after the age of 13 in Brandon wasn’t not possible for ladies up thus far, however that age sometimes introduced a crossroads with it.
Ladies graduating from the under-13 age group dwelling within the metropolis needed to make a tricky choice: check out for the Westman Wildcats, primarily based in Hartney, Man., the Yellowhead Chiefs, primarily based in Shoal Lake or hand over the prospect to play on an all-girls roster.
Each packages supplied a aggressive league, skilled coaches and an opportunity to additional a hockey profession — however in addition they included an hour-long drive for practices and video games.
Doerksen is aware of that life effectively — she spent her teenage years with the previous Westman Falcons program.
“The extra groups we will create, the extra alternatives we give ladies to play at that prime stage.”
For the newly-minted U15 AAA Feminine Wheat Kings program, that additionally contains the prospect to study from a trio of coaches who went on to have profitable collegiate careers on each side of the border.
Doerksen’s spent the previous twenty years teaching hockey at numerous ranges after three seasons with the College of Manitoba Bisons.
She’s joined by fellow assistant coach Amanda Coey, a former captain of the College of Wisconsin-Superior girls’s NCAA hockey group.
Rounding out the all-female management is Karissa Kirkup, one other former Bison who helped the group win the U Sports activities Nationwide Championship in 2018.
“See it, be it,” Doerksen says. “It’s all about mentorship — seeing your self, and what you may change into, in others.”
“To have the ability to present these athletes with feminine leaders who’ve performed [at the next level] is nice.”
The group comes along with house-level packages that function the pipeline for the high-level groups and permit ladies of all ability ranges to proceed to get the prospect to play.
“On the finish of the day, you play sport to have enjoyable. We have to proceed to put money into these grassroots packages. I’m the U7 director for Hockey Brandon, and it’s actually necessary we proceed that improvement.”
The group is rolling full-steam-ahead to what they hope is a standard 2021-22 hockey season, dealing with off in opposition to groups reminiscent of Yellowhead, Westman, Pembina Valley, and numerous Winnipeg-area squads.
It begins later this month, with a ID camp to scout out potential gamers for the autumn.
Doerksen hopes this program results in additional growth — and someday, the creation of a U18 AAA girls’s group in Brandon.
“Hockey is gorgeous,” Doerksen says. “I hope we’ve got the prospect to play till we’re 80 years outdated.”
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