Growing the Game

Jamie Heap
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Promoting Female Participation in Hockey

Approximately 30 females took to the ice Saturday at Amherst Stadium during Esso Hockey Fun Day that was designed to introduce girls between the ages of 3 and 17 to the game of hockey while meeting new friends in the process. The event, which was sponsored by the Cumberland County Minor Hockey Association, was led by Amherst native Heather Murphy of Hockey Nova Scotia. She was assisted by members of both the Mount Allison ladies hockey team and female Midget players from Amherst and Parrsboro.

AMHERST-An Esso Fun Day led by Amherst native Heather Murphy was held on Saturday at Amherst Stadium with the goal of getting more girls playing hockey.

“Cumberland County Minor Hockey really stepped forward to do it (host an Esso Fun Day) as a means to grow female hockey in Nova Scotia,” stated Hockey Nova Scotia Northern Conference coordinator and hockey coach Heather Murphy of Antigonish. “Esso Fun Day is all about introducing girls who have never had an opportunity to play hockey before the chance to try it out for free,” stated Murphy.

According to Murphy, female hockey took off about fifteen years ago when varsity hockey picked up at the university level. “At this point, the growth of the game is going to come from the female side,” she added. “Cumberland County especially has been good to support its (female) Midget hockey program,” said Murphy.

“Events like this will help grow its female presence,” claimed Murphy.

Murphy’s claim is supported by the fact that Nova Scotia’s last two Midget ‘A’ female provincial hockey champions have hailed from Cumberland: in 2012, Parrsboro’s Midget A girls won the title while Amherst won the 2013 banner.

While it is possible that future minor hockey players were among the 30 participants who took to the ice this past Saturday, the president of the Cumberland County Minor Hockey Association stressed the importance of just having fun.

“Girls participating today don’t necessarily have to be playing minor hockey,” stated Richard Allen. “It’s just an opportunity to give girls (aged 3-17) from Truro, Parrsboro, Springhill and Amherst to have fun and meet some new friends too.”

After Heather Murphy, who was assisted by members of the Mount Allison ladies’ hockey team,  as well as female midget players from Cumberland County, was finished introducing participants to the basics, a pizza party was held upstairs.

“Thanks to Cumberland Minor Hockey’s Michelle McEachern for organizing this event,” stated Richard Allen. “We’re just here to order the pizza today,” he added.

“Cumberland’s Minor Hockey program is driven by volunteers,” stated Murphy, who showed the event’s participants an instructional video to conclude the day.

Organizations: Esso, Cumberland County Minor Hockey Association

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Nova Scotia Northern, Amherst Stadium

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