The Smithers Prowlers started off the women’s hockey season in fine form, beating out rivals from Terrace, Kitimat and Prince Rupert early in October at the Terrace Icebreaker tournament in Terrace.
Team member Lee Storie said the team has benefited from some young blood, including three 16 year old players getting in extra ice time outside of minor hockey.
“We’ve always been a very close team. There’s a core group of us that have been together for quite some time, this is my eighth year with them. To have new people come in and change the dynamics of the team is very exciting, because then you see the team grow,” she said.
The Prowlers started their tournament with a 1-0 win over Prince Rupert on the Friday. Saturday began with an 11-3 win over Terrace.
“It was a bit of a blowout. You don’t expect these things, especially because we brought several new players with us, and we hadn’t played in lines before, so it was quite interesting,” said Storie.
On the Sunday morning the Prowlers defeated Kitimat’s team 3-2, leading to a final against Prince
“They were out for vengeance, but we beat them 4-0,” she said.
Storie said that despite the big win in Terrace, the Prowlers’ main goal is simply for women to enjoy playing hockey.
“We’re not overly competitive, we’re all about having fun,” she said. “The key is to keep encouraging new players to come out, and not to feel intimidated to throw on some skates and grab some used gear, and see how much fun you can have.”
The theory seems to be working, as the Prowlers’ roster is up to 32 women, including two who, before this fall, had never played hockey in their lives. Players range in age from 16 to over 50, and include two sets of mothers and daughters. The Road Warriors, the other women’s team in Smithers, have players well into the double digits as well, a sign that women’s hockey is alive, well and growing in Smithers.
The Road Warriors will be hosting this year’s Smithers women’s hockey tournament, an annual event that alternates between the two teams for hosting and organizing duties. For the first time, the Old Timer’s tournament, which runs the weekend before the women’s, will also include four spots for a ladies division.