The women from Manitoba's Baker Hutterite Colony have kept their hockey record perfect while making things a whole lot better for refugee families at the same time.
The Baker women downed the Iron Maidens, a women's team from the nearby town of MacGregor, 6-1 Monday in the fourth annual game between the teams.
But it wasn't the score as much as the charity collection that was celebrated by the women. People attending the game at the ACU Normac Centre were asked to bring a clothing or silver donation for refugees families.
Tirzah Maendel, one of the Baker Colony players, said 10 bags of clothing were raised along with $400 for two immigrant families moving to the area.
"That's awesome. I'm really pleased," she said on Tuesday, adding that since the first annual game, the matchup has grown in popularity to where the arena was "almost a full house."
Much of the media focus ahead of the game was about the Hutterite women playing in long skirts — and playing a mainstream game that many thought contrasted with their traditional way of life.
Maendel said the game has helped break down some stereotypes by showing "we're just normal Canadians who enjoy hockey as well."
"It's a big pastime in our community," she said. "It's normal for us."
Comments on Monday's CBC story, posted online before the game later in the day, have been nothing but positive for the women, suggesting those stereotypes are not just being broken, but shattered.
Here's a sample:
- Good on the Baker Gals! Sure a positive extension of character for others to tune to.
- Cool! Love to see women embrace sports, themselves and have fun.
- I like this story and hope it becomes a long running tradition.
- Good on ya ladies! Women do the most work on any colony so they deserve all the fun they can get! Enjoy!
"This is my favourite comment in why it's a good thing that we play," Maendel said, quoting, "Hockey in Canada can be a universal language of love. A sport that crosses borders and cultural barriers. We salute the Baker Colony Hutterite women who display confidence and grace as they play the game. Skate hard ladies!"
As for the skirts, they're an advantage rather than a hindrance to the women, who sometimes find themselves trapping a puck in them like a net.
"It did happen [Monday night]," Maendel said.