300 girls train alongside Olympian at Edmonton hockey festival
Girls ages 7-14 joined the first annual Scotiabank Girls Hockeyfest
About 300 girls got a unique lesson on Sunday at Rogers Place in downtown Edmonton when they skated alongside Olympian and Canadian women's hockey champion Natalie Spooner.
Spooner taught girls between the ages of 7 and 14 years of age hockey skills and gave motivational advice.
Young female hockey players in peewee, atom and novice levels came from around the region to take part in the first annual Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest .
Along with enjoying the game, there's a lot to learn from the sport, Spooner said.
"It's the other things you learn through playing hockey — teamwork, being a great teammate, hard work, putting in that extra effort to achieve your dreams," she said.
Playing sports as a youth taught her a lot of skills and she hopes teaching the younger generation will inspire them to pursue their goals, she said.
"By me being here I can, you know, spark their dream and maybe make them work a little bit harder and realize that if they work hard they can get there too."
- 'They just have nowhere to go': Alberta hockey league offers rare opportunity for female athletes
- Female hockey official says gender cost her opportunity to referee AJHL games
The session with Spooner was challenging and fun, said Kali Boichuk, a 12-year-old peewee A player who is part of a boys' team, the Wild Rebels, in Saskatoon.
"It's really nice to meet someone you can look up to," Boichuk said. "My goal is to make Team Canada."
In addition to the Edmonton event, Scotiabank Girls Hockeyfest was in Winnipeg in December and Calgary in January. Later this month it hits Vancouver. In April, it will be held in Ottawa and Toronto.
"This is super exciting to know that there's so many young girls getting into hockey," Spooner said.