It's just before 6pm on a cold, snowy late November Sunday evening in Golden, British Columbia. In this historic small town located just off the Trans Canada Highway and at the confluence of both the Kicking Horse and Columbia Rivers, local stores have closed for the day. And what little car traffic there is on local streets would suggest that the Town's residents have rolled up their welcome mats to be home for the night.
But, make your way to the local arena and all bets are off. Not only are there lots of ice skaters of all ages wrapping up their ice time at the regularly scheduled public skating slot, there are also a number of women arriving with their hockey bags and sticks in hand and heading to the changerooms to get ready to hit the ice themselves.
The Golden Girls ice hockey program - a Sunday night regular user group of arena ice time for the past seven years. It's a volunteer-run drop-in program that's open to adult women of all ages and skill levels. It provides an amazing and fun opportunity for local gals to meet other local gals while learning the ins and outs of playing ice hockey.
"sports have always helped me settle in to a new place by giving me a built in community" ~ Recent Golden resident Claire Palmer
The program's first thirty minutes focuses on learning new skills by doing different drills. These skill development sessions are often lead by Marcie, one of the group's regular players and informal leaders who's not only passionate about getting more gals in the game but is also someone who's had extensive experience playing organized hockey at multiple levels.
For regular skater Claire Palmer, her involvement with the Golden Girls has been a great experience. As a relatively new resident to Golden, the Golden Girls drop-in hockey program has been an excellent way for Claire to find instant connections. In Claire's own words, "sports have always helped me settle in to a new place by giving me a built in community during a new move."
Once the skill development session comes to an end, the remaining fifty minutes is the time to play hockey. While there are often 10-12 female skaters who regularly show up to play, to ensure that both teams have a sufficient number of players, some extra players also show up to play with the gals. They can include husbands, fathers, friends and associates who not only enjoy playing hockey themselves, but are also keen to show their support for the Golden Girls hockey program.
Throughout the game, the vibe on both benches is light and lively. It's clear that Sunday night hockey in Golden BC is about having the chance to enjoy a good skate, to learn and play hockey, and to experience some quality time with friends and neighbours.
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Blog and Photos by Caroline Wiley. Caroline bridged her 20+ years of professional experience in the sport and recreation industry together with her passions for photography and supporting women in sport to create SeeWhatSheCanDo. Her vision is to create a welcoming space where active women find a sense of belonging within their own local community, see themselves in authentic and awe-inspiring ways and find resources to help them be their best active selves.
SeeWhatSheCanDo wishes to thank the Golden Girls ice hockey program for the opportunity to showcase their efforts to get more gals playing the game of hockey. If you'd like learn more about their program or would like to connect with the group, head to their Facebook Group page.
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