Girls’ hockey teams turn heads at Jeux du Québec
Women’s hockey is becoming more popular, but female players still lack the same opportunities as their male counterparts. That’s why, for many girls in the sport, the Jeux du Québec, or Quebec Games, is a unique experience.
Fourteen-year-old Chloe English has been playing hockey since she was four.
“I spend my whole day in arenas sometimes,” she said.
English is one of 18 girls playing on the Laval team at the Quebec Games, now in its 54th year. She’d like it if more attention was given to women’s hockey and more girls got involved.
“We don’t see that really often. In Laval, we don’t have a lot of hockey players so it was really tough to make this team,” she explained.
Even so, the 18 all-girls teams who competed in the Quebec Games this week turned a few heads in Quebec City.
“There is a very good level of competition. I was a little surprised, even,” said André Filteau, a site director with the games.
Joey Brandone, English’s coach, was also impressed.
“I’ve been coaching for eight years. This is my first year coaching girls’ hockey, and I’m in shock at how many girls actually play,” said Brandone.
“I played when I was five with the boys, and then when the rule came that girls play with girls and boys with boys, I switched to ringette, but after I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to try playing hockey with girls,’ and I love it so much,” said Maude O’Gleman, another player on the Laval team.
Brandone said girls have a lot more to aspire to now than they ever did before: women’s teams compete in university hockey, women’s professional hockey and the Olympics.
Canada’s women’s hockey teams are a powerhouse — they have won four Olympic gold medals, more than any other country in the world.
The sport might be growing, but it still needs support. On this International Women’s Day, Brandone has a message.
“There’s so much talent, and the girls deserve so much more — or you know, just the same as the boys — and just not to give up on what’s going to become a great, great program,” he said.
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