The NHL may still be locked out, but don’t expect any sort of work stoppage for players in the Squamish Women’s Hockey League (SWHL).
The SWHL, which runs from September to April, takes over the ice at Brennan Park Arena every Sunday. League president Jennifer Weaver said the well-established league is always looking for new players.
“Women shouldn’t be intimidated at all, and if they’re interested in trying they can just come out,” she said, noting that about 15 to 20 women participate each Sunday night. “We have a lot of ex-figure skaters that come and try hockey for the first time and their skills transfer really well to hockey. Really, anybody that used to skate in the past and wants to find out if they fit in on the ice should come try it out.”
Weaver said the league attracts players of all skill levels from beginners to advanced and that while some women do take the games seriously, it’s all about having a good time and getting a good workout.
“You want to make it fun for the beginners,” she said. “Hockey can be a little bit intimidating, but we always try and make the newcomers feel really welcome. It’s really a tremendous amount of exercise and a really great workout.”
She added that the social aspect of the sport is another reason players keep coming back.
“We really support all the players on the ice at all times so whether they’re scoring goals or getting tripped up on the ice — everyone is supportive,” she said. “We have a lot of wives, mothers and professional women that play. It’s a real mixed group, but we all come together and play our hearts out.”
According to Weaver, Whistler has a strong women’s hockey presence and she would like to see interest in the sport grow in Squamish. The league does have three full sets of gear for women who want to try the game and Weaver said the league is always looking for referees and more people to come and try the game out. She added that the league also participates in one or two tournaments a year, where all those interested get to travel and play the game in a more competitive environment.
For more information on the SWHL, email Weaver at email@example.com.