This weekend Golden will be taken over by nearly 100 chicks with sticks.
Golden’s Darkside women’s hockey team is hosting an eight-team tournament, bringing in six teams from Calgary, Vernon, Invermere, Cranbrook, Revelstoke/Salmon Arm, and Beiseker, Alta.
“We’re getting tons of support from the community in terms of prizes,” said Mandy Horsman, longtime member of Darkside, which will be splitting into two teams for the third annual tournament.
“Last year the Rockwater had us over for dinner, banquet style, and everybody just raved about it. So they’re doing that for us again this year,” said Horsman.
The team, originally sponsored by Darkside whose owner Robin Nutt is a player, is made up of women of all ages and skill levels. They meet every Sunday afternoon to practice, and often shinny against each other. They also try to make it to about three tournaments a year.
“The skill level is really all over the map,” said Horsman. “We have some girls who have been playing all their life, and some that are just getting started. It makes it kind of difficult sometimes, but it’s really about just getting out and playing.”
The ages also range from 19, although they occasionally pull a few younger girls up when they need to, to 50 plus. The interest in Golden is strong says Horsman, but numbers do tend to dwindle when some of the players have children.
“In the last five years that’s when the crew started having families,” said Horsman, who has a six-month old daughter named Stella. “The worst was when we got hit with four years ago – four or five women had kids that year. We were a little worried. We really didn’t want to lose hockey in our town.”
Darkside is always looking for new teammates, and skill level is not an issue. The girls have been having some coaches come to their practices to help out as well.
“Mike Taylor has been coming out, which is great,” said Horsman. “We’re always looking for new coaches though, just to help teach some of the newer girls the basics, run drills, keep us organized, that kind of stuff.”