A local sports association in Penticton hopes Saturday was the start of a new B.C. hockey tradition.
The Penticton Minor Hockey Association hosted its first-ever all-girls hockey tournament at Memorial Arena on Aug. 27, welcoming players aged nine to 12 from across the South Okanagan, as well as from West Kelowna, Kelowna, Lumby, Chase, Logan Lake and Princeton.
Sanctioned by BC Hockey, the inaugural event featured nine players on each of the eight teams.
“We want to have more kids trying the sport, instead of exclusively chasing people who already play on teams,” said Paul Parkinson from the hockey association. “It’s about getting more girls to know each other and to get more girls playing.”
An idea three months in the making, Parkinson explained his vision to the Western News of having the event become an annual tradition. But Saturday wasn’t just about the girls on the ice — it was also about those behind the bench.
“This has been a really good experience for us because I’m trying to get into coaching hockey,”18-year-old Lola said, a volunteer and one of the day’s many mentors to the younger players.
A total of 54 girls are currently registered in the Penticton Minor Hockey Association. With Saturday’s inaugural event, though, Parkinson, hopes that number will only grow as the years go by.
“With something like this, we hope someone would get introduced to the sport, hopefully, have a good time and want to sign up,” he said. “It’s good to get these programs going and then build it out from there.”
Saturday’s tournament started at 9 a.m., with the final game set for 6 p.m.
All games were played as four-on-four contests.