Gaining a New Passion – Q&A with Blind River Ladies Hockey League

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The Blind River Ladies Hockey League is one of three winners of the 2023 Game Changers contest. The league began with hopes to share a new-found passion for hockey. Four ladies travelled each week to learn essential hockey skills after discovering an appreciation for the sport. They now have hopes to grow the adult women’s hockey community in Blind River. These ladies are a great example of how it is never too late to embrace a new passion.

What role do you see Blind River Lady’s hockey league playing in fostering a positive and inclusive environment for women interested in hockey?

The role I see the Blind River Ladies Hockey League playing in fostering a positive and inclusive environment for women interested in hockey is creating a fun, safe space to laugh and learn the sport that is Hockey. The league will consist of all calibers of players who will all contribute their knowledge in different aspects to the game. 

Can you think of any off-ice skills that the participants will gain from the camp/league such as building camaraderie or boosting confidence? If so, can you provide an example?

Off-ice skills that participants will gain from the league, I’d say, would be the ability to expose yourself. Expose yourself to new people, new challenges, new hobbies. You never know if you’re going to enjoy something until you put yourself out there and try.

How did you ladies decide to attend the camp in Sault Ste. Marie and travel 1.5 hours every week?

Myself, along with 3 other ladies threw on equipment for the first time last year. The skills camp we attended allowed us to develop and learn the basic fundamentals of the sport. It was a no brainer! 

What specific skills as aspects of the game have you learnt through the ‘For women by women’ hockey camp and how has it contributed to your growth and development as hockey players?

Specific skills we learned through the hockey camp included basic skating, stick handling, shooting, and positioning. This contributed tremendously to our growth as beginner players as our only exposure to the game prior – was scrimmaging on Friday nights. The 6 week program broke everything down and gave us the ability and luxury of time to practice those learned skills. 

Can you share any personal stories or anecdotes from participants that highlight how the camp has sparked a newfound passion and enthusiasm for the sport of hockey?

For myself, the camp indeed sparked a newfound passion for hockey that in reality – I didn’t know existed. The idea of trying something new along with friends began as a fun thing to do at the end of a long work week. Which in turn sparked the idea of creating and developing a league.  

How can people who are interested in supporting the Blind River league and its initiatives get involved through volunteering, donations or other means?

People can support our newly developed Blind River Ladies League by reaching out to the league coordinator personally. They can also follow the league on social media and share posts! We’ve had interest from other local organizations in terms of timekeepers/officials and had businesses already reach out wanting to donate towards ice fees/jerseys etc. 

Facebook groups: Blind River Ladies Hockey League , Blind River Women’s Hockey

What are the future goals and aspirations of the Blind River Ladies Hockey League? How do you plan on spreading the passion for hockey among women in the region?

Our goal this year – is to get as many ladies out as possible. Whether it’s their first year/first time lacing up skates or ladies who have played their whole lives. We want to create a fun and successful league and continue to spread the word across the North Shore.   

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