Iqaluit Amateur Hockey Association joins World Girls Hockey Weekend

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Every year, there’s a weekend set aside for girls hockey players to get out on the ice and play with other girls and just enjoy playing.

That weekend was Oct. 4 to 6 as World Girls Hockey Weekend happened around the planet and the Iqaluit Amateur Hockey Association joined in on the fun with other cities and leagues on Oct. 5 at the Arnaitok Arena for a fun day of skills, drills and games.

Alexia Cousins, the association’s vice-president of female hockey, helped to put on the day’s proceedings and said nearly all of the 50 girls signed up to play this season turned up.

“Our youngest group, the initiation-novice group, had a few missing but the other two groups had just one or two missing,” she said. “It’s so good to see interest in girls hockey growing.”

Ryleigh McPherson, left with white helmet, talks with the group of initiation and novice players during a break in the action as part of the World Girls Hockey Weekend event in Iqaluit on Oct. 5.
photo courtesy of Alexia Cousins

The initiation-novice division was first up on the ice and they played chariot races with the goaltenders from the bantam-midget division and some small-area games, said Cousins.

“We have some of our initiation players still learning to skate but we have some real strong novice girls,” she said. “It was a chance for them to get their feet under them and get used to the ice.”

The atom-peewee division had 19 players come out to play and that meant there were enough players to have a full-ice game.

“We split the girls into two teams with two lines each,” said Cousins. “The older girls were on the ice to help out.”
The bantam-midget group was the last to do their thing and they stuck to skills competitions, which included a game of 10-puck, where players took turns trying to beat the goaltender.

The winning team was able to choose the punishment for the losers, which Cousins said turned out to be two hard laps of the full ice surface.

There was a party to be had once it was all done which included pizza, cake and drinks for everyone along with some extra goodies.

“Some of the parents brought Timbits and other treats for the girls,” said Cousins. “The older girls got a toque and we gave the younger ones a buffer-style neck warmer.”

This year’s event was a change from the last two years as it was held on ice at the Arnaitok Arena. The previous years saw the girls playing on the gymnasium floor at Inuksuk High School.

“It was good to get them on ice skating this year,” said Cousins. “I was so happy with how everything turned out and it was very successful. It’s the first time I’ve been involved in this and everyone who came out made it a lot of fun. It’s got me looking forward to the rest of this season.”