Ponoka and Lacombe are combining their girls’ hockey programs to create stronger teams.
The combination Lacoka Female Hockey Program, has been in the works since winter.
Low registration numbers were also a factor. “Multi levels were being combined to even put a team in,” said assistant coach Sharon Klinger. “It was just dangerous.”
The associations are combining their bantam, peewee, midget, atom and novice teams with the same leveled team so girls play with appropriate age levels. Last year, according to Klinger, 10 year-olds played with15 year-olds.
“We’re just going to make it so much nicer for the girls,” Klinger said.
With the new program’s combined bantam and peewee will play out of Ponoka and midget, atom and novice from Lacombe.
Players can register with either the Ponoka or Lacombe minor hockey association.
Even though some players will be from different towns they will still be required to fundraise in the town their team is based from, if the team hosts an independent fundraiser.
Players will be able to fundraise in their own town for association fundraisers.
This new program isn’t exclusive to girls from Ponoka and Lacombe. Players from Bentley, Rimbey, Clive and other communities in the area who are playing on a boys’ team or just want to join are welcome, says Klinger.
“It’s more of a team atmosphere when you don’t have to change in separate dressing rooms.”
However, Rimbey does have its own peewee program.
To start off the new Lacoka program an ice breaker camp is being held in Lacombe from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Aug. 14.
The camp includes ice time, dryland training and swimming. It’s free of charge but girls wanting to attend must be registered with either the Ponoka or Lacombe minor hockey association before Aug. 14.
Tom Fisher, director of the Lacombe female hockey program, has applied for a $500 grant from Nova Chemicals to cover the cost of the camp.