Girls’ hockey has come to Wadena and met with an enthusiastic response. The past season has seen the first girls’ hockey team here in a long time. With 18 players and more interested, there may even be more than one team next year.
With the Wadena Wildcat girls’ hockey team are, left to right, assistant coaches Ashley Kolach, Rob Bilokraly, coach Carmen Sowa and assistant coach Dean Murray. Left to right: (standing) Raya Erickson, Nicole Hart, Haley Bilokraly, Kiana Woloshyn, Faith Kolach, Karlie Althouse, Rayanne Korolchuk, Mackenzie Murray, Kendra Lipka, Courtney Bilokraly; (kneeling) Paige Haskey, Kimberley Sowa, Kaitlyn Haskey, Sydney Hrushka, Emma Chamberlain, Halle Sowa, Haley Bindig; (front) Amber Mayer.
The players range in age from nine to 17, with four in the Atom age range but, due to the age spread, the team could not join the league this year. While most girls already know how to skate from participation in figure skating and Atom hockey, it is not a prerequisite for the team.
Coach Carmen Sowa, assisted by hockey dads Robbie Bilokraly, Ashley Kolach and Dean Murray, is making it fun as well as interesting. The team has played five games with one more to go this year, and girls and coaches are planning for next year.
Community interest is building as well. Crossroads Credit Union donated all the jerseys, and parents and kids alike are asking about the team.
The team really started last summer, with some moms getting together and talking about it. While some of the girls have played hockey already in the boys’ league, the Saskatchewan Hockey Association rules stipulate that after a certain age the girls must have separate dressing rooms, which has an impact on the team.
“The girls miss out on the camaraderie in the dressing room, which is where a lot of the team spirit happens,” hockey mom Megan Bilokraly told the News. “It is nice to have the girls on their own.”
Plans for next year include splitting into two teams, by age group, so they will be eligible to join the league and have more games. Go, Wildcat Girls!
By Charlene Wirtz