Hockey associations across the region are playing on the same team by promoting and offering female hockey programs for girls, starting from age six.
"We've decided to do a half-season league. So it's four games in January and February where the girls have an opportunity to form little teams and play against each other," says Kim Paull, Vice Director of Female Pembina Valley Minor Hockey Association (PVMHA).
The girls can choose to play a full season on the boy's teams, while also playing on a female-only team. Alternatively, they can also choose to only participate on the female team.
"It really provides all girls a place to play, and I think that with all the associations looking at this option for the girls, it provides so much for our region," says Paull.
From December to February, a number of training days will be held across the region with women who have found levels of success in female hockey, like PV Hawks AAA Bantam Assistant Coach, Christine Bumstead.
Paull says, "it's been great. We've also started a program with our AAA teams because they also want to integrate and help grow the program."
There is also a mentorship program called "Our Future Hawks," that allows the girls to join the Hawks in the dressing room, follow them out onto the ice to warm up, and hear their name announced on the sound system. "We pick girls from all over the region so they all have an opportunity to experience what it's like to play on one of our elite teams," says Paull.
She adds, "it's becoming very contagious in our region to help grow this program for our girls."