Two Houston girls were given the opportunity to experience fun, teamwork and inclusion at the 19th Annual Ice Classic Female Hockey Tournament in Richmond, BC on March 25, 2016.
Emma Silbernagel, 12, and Evann Potvin, 11, were asked to attend with the Vanderhoof Bears – a Pee Wee female team, coached by Jeff Boon and Teresa Philips.
“We picked up veterans, along with some rookies with us,” Coach Jeff Boon said. “Our rookies stepped up, we’ve got a few younger players that are just getting started and have really improved over the year – it’s nice to see some game action.”
When asked what the importance is of having representation in the Northwest in a tournament in the lower mainland, Boon responded, “We need to put focus on the Northern cities, we’re so far apart – down here they have a large base of teams to draw from – it’s important to get the talent from each town and the kids that really want to play involved.”
Boon added, “It’s a lot of fun to get to see these girls have some game action – we have lots of practices and work on skill but don’t get to see a lot of games that often – we get kids from different age groups, and different communities – we’ve got girls that are moving up to Bantam level, and we’ve got girls where this is their first year of hockey- there’s a difference of skill sets – it’s an awful lot of fun to watch these girls play together and work together as a group.”
The 19th Annual Ice Classic Female Hockey Tournament hosted 67 teams, and over 950 players participated in the tournament – from Tyke through Juvenile levels. This is the first year this particular group from Vanderhoof has attended as a team, which turned out to be extremely beneficial in its team building, ice time and overall exposure.
“It was amazing. It was a great opportunity for our girls to spread out and expand – and we don’t get a lot of games so it was great to experience some good hockey – and they did well,” Coach Teresa Philips said. “We don’t have a lot of teams in the north and it’s good for the girls to get outside their own zone and be able to experience the play with the other teams.”
An increase in exposure to female hockey opportunities in addition to ice time is the goal of team organizers throughout the NorthWest.
As a result, there is potentially a female team in Houston that will feature girls from Houston, Smithers, and Hazelton. This group of dedicated girls have already hosted games against the Vanderhoof Bears this past season, and hope to continue on with success and support next season.