2 new female hockey associations join Hockey Nova Scotia
'This is another positive step in the right direction for female hockey in Nova Scotia,' says president
Two more groups have signed on with Hockey Nova Scotia to operate as female hockey associations for next season — a move that's expected to encourage growth of the sport in the province.
Hockey Nova Scotia has announced that the Valley Wild and the Metro East Inferno will join Metro Force West to administer female hockey in the province.
"This is another positive step in the right direction for female hockey in Nova Scotia," Hockey Nova Scotia president Garth Isenor said in a statement.
With these two new associations signing on, the number of players competing on female-only teams will triple.
More regions are expected to have their own female associations in the next year or two, which should mean even more opportunities for young female players to advance their game.
A number of female players who are now playing university-level hockey started out with minor hockey leagues in Nova Scotia. The women's Atlantic University Sport hockey league was formed in 1997 and is now a thriving seven-team league.
For the first time ever, two Nova Scotians — Jillian Saulnier and Blayre Turnbull — were named to Canada's women's Olympic hockey team. That notable achievement could spur another spike in the popularity of girls and women playing hockey in Nova Scotia.
"Those two girls went off to play some very high-level hockey and they have really helped put Nova Scotia on the map," said Jamie Wells, president of the Valley Wild Female Hockey Association.
"It's a great opportunity for our female players and our youth to see that and it makes it more enticing for them to come out and play."
Kentville's Brette Pettet received a scholarship to play hockey in the U.S. Pettet just finished her rookie season at the University of Wisconsin, where she was the team's top rookie scorer.
Wells said the Valley Wild association will oversee female players coming from existing minor hockey associations in Clare-Digby, Western Valley, Acadia and West Hants.