By Anna-Marie MacKenzie Kelly FOR THE DIGBY COURIER Imagine a hockey tournament where laughter is heard in the stands and on the ice, players from opposing teams stop to help each other, and only words of encouragement are heard from the bench.
That’s exactly what happened at the Canning Her-i-Canes ladies hockey tournament in Canning on March 21-22.
The rules were simple: There were no playoffs and no winner because everyone was a winner; no team played more than two games a day because everyone would be too tired; and no penalties will be called, only self-imposed time-outs, if necessary.
The last rule was just to have fun.
The fledgling Digby Women’s hockey team with the help of some fine players from Greenwood, backup goaltenders from Canning and borrowed jerseys from the Digby & Area Recreation Commission demonstrated great team spirit at their very first tournament. In addition to the Digby squad, the four-team tournament included the Lawrencetown ladies and two teams from Canning.
Digby was the newest team on the ice and only managed to score two goals in their three games but everyone in the arena celebrated with us each time the puck crossed the line.
Fans and players erupted into applause for our goaltender Geanna Walker, for every great save she made. Geanna joined our team just three weeks before the tournament.
When family members of our competition noticed we were without a coach, they were quick to defect to our bench to give us a hand with the line changes and give important pointers. We can truly say we had an enormous amount of fun meeting new hockey friends on and off the ice in Canning.
When Digby Women’s Pick-up Hockey started in December, 2007, we were six or seven ladies teetering on hockey skates helping and encouraging each other. By March 2009, we have 17 regular names on the roster ranging in age from 15 to 57.
This year we participated in skills and power skating workshops, played in Lawrencetown, Greenwood and Canning, and worked with a former National Team player and brother of a former NHL player. ‘Laughter is the best medicine’ could certainly be considered the theme of women’s hockey because not only do we meet new friends, learn new skills, work together with great team spirit, we also treat our bodies to some fine exercise and keep our reflexes in order.
As the ice starts to melt at the arena, our second hockey season comes to an end and we are already talking about next season. We sure hope many more ladies will don skates and handle sticks next season. Remember, no experience necessary!