Female hockey has seen tremendous growth over the last several years, but women playing the game in Ponoka goes back at least three decades.
The Ponoka Silverado women’s hockey club hosted its 15th annual recreational tournament over the weekend at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex with teams coming from across Alberta taking part. Ponoka wound up capturing the consolation side of the tournament with a thrilling 7-6 shootout victory over Delburne in the B-final on Sunday. This came after falling to Vulcan in a shootout 3-2 Oct. 1 to open the tournament followed later in the day by shutting out Devon 5-0.
While the exact origins of the club are a bit cloudy, Melodie Woods has been part of the team for the last 21 years and knows it was around for some time prior to her arrival.
“Back then, it was mostly ladies drop-in hockey which it still partly is,” Woods stated.
“It’s really about getting out as a team and building something together while having some fun. I started out after watching my daughter playing and practising all week and then going out Sunday night to try and see if I could do those things. It was a lot harder to do it on the ice than I thought.”
Wood also explained the tournament is usually the first one of the year for teams, with this being the first time some of the players have been on the ice after the summer, as well as a chance for the team to work with some of its new players.
“Being a women’s hockey team, we have a lot of players and this year we just happened to have a number that weren’t able to play due to expecting or just having babies,” Woods added.
“So, we put the call out and the response was great with about nine new players joining us. It’s also nice to have a lot of players since there are going to be times when family and other commitments are going to take priority as everyone gets busy these days.”
One of those new players this season isn’t so new to it all.
Alyssa Klinger concluded her minor hockey career last spring and has joined her mom Sharon on the Silverado squad — one of a couple mother-daughter combinations on the team.
Like most girls starting out, Alyssa played with the boys before the all-female programs became more prevalent in Alberta.
“Especially in midget, it was very competitive and the goals were to make the playoffs and make provincials,” she said.
“Now, there isn’t that worry and I can get to know everyone and have some fun on the ice. It is a slower pace, but it isn’t too different since there are still various levels of players and skills out there learning the game.”
There is one added bonus for Alyssa this season though.
“While I can appreciate her and how she plays, it’s entertaining now that I get the chance to be on the same team, the same line and heckle my mom,” she said with a bit of a chuckle.
For more information about the team or to reach them, visit them on Facebook by searching Ponoka Ladies Hockey.