My daughter is but one of the 1,400 girls registered to play minor hockey in the Metro Ottawa Girls Hockey League, and since I do not play hockey myself, I realize I am not uniquely qualified to write about girls hockey. I can’t help it though – and since there’ are just way too few happy stories in sports these days – take a leap of faith with me!
There are some Canadian men who still think girls hockey is not real hockey. I find this a little dippy since there are those at Hockey Canada who are taking keen interest in the fact that while men/boys registration in hockey has stagnated over the last few years, women’s/girls hockey has increased by 68% over the last ten years and registration now boasts over 85,000 a year, making up 15% of of the 570,000 Canadians playing organized hockey in Canada. Which begs the question: What are the other 35,500,000 Canadians doing all winter??
We have just returned from the 28th Annual Cornwall Girls Hockey Tournament, just she and I. One of the cool things about this particular girls hockey tournament is that it provides for an annual pilgrimage to the small eastern Ontario city along the St. Lawrence Seawaywhere I lived for 11 of my formative years. This presents endless opportunities for me to
bore regale my daughter with nonstop tales of “I used to live here”, “I used to work here”, and “I used to go to school here”. This year, all my daughter’s games were played in the brand new Benson Centre, surely a new standard for sports complexes, but I was still somewhat wistful upon seeing the gaping hole in the ground where once stood the old Water Street Arena. Memories of my Saturday night public skating adventures could not be contained in the construction barrier now erected.
So I still bitch about there being not much else to do in Cornwall(which I am uniquely qualified to do because I lived there), yet this hockey tournament weekend is particularly fun because of two other facts: it’s girls hockey, and we stay at the The NavCentre.
The fundamental difference between girls hockey and boys hockey is not played out on the ice, it’s in the packing:
Nail polish and hair straightener?
And the personal hygeine accoutrements don’t stop there. Yes, my car still stinks like a gym locker, but damn, if we don’t look good! I have previously posted some other differences between boys and girls hockey; so if you’re interested in a primer, you can find that post here.
Sporting their new matching team T-shirts, a generous gift from their volunteer coach, our 2012-12 Fireworks set off over Cornwall (that’s the team nickname, not a display of pyrotechnics, but the resulting experience is roughly the same) along with their stuffed mascot, MoJo.
The NavCentre …
On any given day, the NavCentre is a training facility of NavCanada which responsible for our nation’s air traffic controllers. At check-in, instead of staring into nondescript hotel chain logo, NavCan front desk boasts a huge flat screen
computer monitor that depicts with accuracy all the airplanes currently in transit in all ofNorth America. It’s a totally cool and extremely captivating visual that briefly takes my attention away from the damage waiver I am asked to sign.
On this particular weekend in November, though, NavCentre is also fully booked but with well over a thousand moms and dads (okay, so I lied, it wasn’t exactly just she and I) attending this annual girls hockey tournament with their hockey bag-toting, hairbrush-wielding daughters ages 6 through 14 (which has seriously got to be better than over a thousand air traffic controller trainees, don’t you think?!). Conference rooms are converted into pizza rooms, while foyers are converted into dance floor (to say nothing of the makeshift bars along the way… hic!) for these Chicks with sticks. The halls are ripe with estrogen: serious dance routines, several simultaneous games of Man Hunt, group manicures, hair wrapping, jewellry making, and piles of whatever else kind of fun, while the security guards that generally look the other way. Except in my case, however, he did NOT look the other way as I carried my open container of fun from one room to another. Apparently alcoholic beverages in an unlicensed area is a big faux-pas. I better tell Karen to put a lid on her – uh – coffee cup.
A win-loss-tie record was not enough for us to advance beyond round robin play but this disappointment was quickly quelled by the many other distractions including a lax curfew, plenty of popcorn, and pyjama-casual dress code. My mother called us upon hearing that her grand-daughter’s team had been eliminated from the tournament to see how she was taking the devastating news. My daughter was running in the opposite direction with her teammates in their matching new t-shirts with a big bag of barbeque potato chips and 3 cans of pop.
I’d say she’s taking it pretty well.
The memories of these hockey weekends inCornwallat NavCentre will be remembered longer than the score of any of her hockey games.