Girls hockey back on the ice for another season

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

The Fort Frances Girls and Women’s Hockey Association (FFGWHA) has taken to the ice for another year. House league and travel teams are starting to take shape.

Craig Miller, President of the board of directors for FFGWHA, says things have largely gotten back to normal.

“We’ve got things under way, and things are pretty normal this year, aside from having to wear masks in the arena and so on,” said Miller. “But for the most part, hockey looks very much like it did pre-pandemic.”

When they did play last year, girls’ hockey was restricted to playing four-on-four, per regulations from their governing body.

“We did have a program last year,” Miller said. “But we had periods where there were no games because of lockdowns, and our season was shortened quite a bit.”

This year, the association’s first priority was to get the local house leagues up and running for the season. Now that house leagues are in full swing, the association has begun putting together some travel teams among age groups with enough interested players. They hope to play against other associations in the region who have expressed interest in travelling.

“We’re just in the process of getting competitive teams or travel type teams underway,” Miller said. “There’s some communities in Northwestern Ontario that have expressed an interest to have some games with travel teams.”

Travel teams have already come together for the U11 and U13 age groups and they are still gauging interest in a U15 team. One team played a series of games in Kenora last weekend and the U13 team has played against Emo a few times already. Teams have expressed interest in games as far away as Thunder Bay and parts of Manitoba as well.

“We’ve had members from as far east as Seine River First Nation,” Miller said. “We have some girls playing with us this year from Emo and then we also capture membership from Mitaanjigamiing First Nation, said Miller, highlighting how wide a region the FFGWHA serves. “Emo only has a girls team at the U13 age group, so anybody who doesn’t want to play co-ed hockey, just wants to play girls only, has been welcomed to our program.”

Miller says that everyone seems to be quite happy to be back on the ice this year.

“They were super excited to get back onto the ice this year,” Miller said. “Not just the girls but all the sports programs. Everyone was just missing it.”