The Atom Reps recently won the league championship against St. Thomas
Minor hockey associations in Lambton County are looking at ways to work together to provide more opportunities for girls’ hockey.
Petrolia Minor Hockey Association President Nick Salaris says his group met with organizations in Mooretown, East Lambton and Lambton Shores to talk about the problems they face offering girls’ hockey programs for all skill levels.
Fewer girls play hockey than boys. In Petrolia, boys out number the girls by 2 to 1.
Girls are also more likely to pick up the game later, says Salaris, meaning the skill level at the different age divisions can vary a lot.
Generally speaking, house league teams are helpful for developing players; those whose skills are more developed play travel hockey. But Salaris says there usually aren’t enough girls in each division to form both a house and travel team. So the skilled players find a community where they can be challenged.
Salaris says unlike boys’ hockey, girls are allowed to play in different communities. That means smaller organizations in rural areas loose some of their top players to larger cities where the game is more competitive, says Salaris. In Lambton, organizations loose players to Sarnia, Strathroy and even London.
“We’re looking to other organizations to form partnership work together to try to …build girls’ hockey in the county.”
Salaris says PMHA has only taken the preliminary steps; meeting with the organizations to discuss common problems and it isn’t clear what they will do. But he says it may mean each community could take on a program for a different division for all Lambton County girls. Or, Salaris says, one association could offer a travel team for others to join.
Salaris expects there will be some form of cooperation in the 2015-2016 hockey season but amalgamation of the girls programs – if that is what everyone agrees to – would take much longer.
For now, Salaris says the organizations just want to work together to “build hockey and get as many girls playing hockey as we can.”