Girls get short end of the stick
|By Joseph Quigley - Staff Writer | March 21, 2019
It can be especially tough being a girls’ hockey player.
Girls teams can be difficult to find – just ask the Haliburton girls who have to travel to Bancroft to play rep. Those teams can struggle to get ice time over the boy’s programs that outnumber them. Our culture celebrates boy’s hockey much more than girls.
So, when an opportunity to help boost girls’ hockey comes along, it should be embraced with open arms.
But in Haliburton, that opportunity has been met with upturned noses and shrugged shoulders. That needs to change.
M-Power Hockey ran an all-girls, overnight hockey summer camp in Dysart et al in 2017. By all accounts, the camp was successful, offering girls an opportunity to learn from high-calibre women players, without any of the tricky gender dynamics that co-ed sporting can bring.
But the camp is cancelled this year, as it was in 2018.
At issue? The camp cannot secure any summer daytime ice at A.J. LaRue Arena, which is entirely booked up by Haliburton Hockey Haven.
This situation is ridiculous. The girls camp is seeking about 10 hours for one week during the summer. It is willing to pay the same rates as all groups do in Dysart et al.
The slip-up, according to Mayor Andrea Roberts, is the municipality has to look at it as a “business case.” How can they go with a camp looking for a fraction of one week in the summer when Hockey Haven literally wants all of the summer ice it can get?
To which, I ask, why do those things have to be mutually exclusive? Is Hockey Haven going to take its puck and go home because the municipality accommodates a group for 10 hours of daytime ice, when Hockey Haven gets hundreds?
Of course, Hockey Haven can manage with M-Power getting a relatively small amount of day ice. They did in 2017, when M-Power rented day ice directly from Hockey Haven – something Hockey Haven has refused to do again.
The municipality did previously offer M-Power a small amount of evening ice, which has been their fallback defence. Why can’t these women just accept what has been offered?
As M-Power explains it, they want their camp to be expansive and offer different evening activities. Accounting for travel time, changeroom time and early bedtimes, skating during evenings would put a dent in that.
You may not buy that explanation. If so, I would counter: why does the only summer girls’ hockey program in this community have to fight for the scraps of evening ice available, when co-ed (in effect, boys-dominated) programming does not?
The solution here is simple. Give smaller programs a chance at some amount of summer day ice – and evening ice too. Let Hockey Haven take the remaining time, which will surely be plenty. It will take effort to sort fairly, but it can be done.
I am sure council has many more important things to do than this. But you have time. Think about this before the Hockey Haven agreement comes before you again. Do not thoughtlessly hand over all the summer ice to one group.
Few people would ever admit aloud they do not support girls’ hockey. I am sure councillors would say they support it.
So, prove it.