By Maya Smith
If you’re a Canadian, chances are you grew up skating on a lake, watching your local team and of course, cheering on Team Canada at the Olympics. In Calgary, there are lots of hockey opportunities for all ages and genders. Yes, girls play hockey!
If your daughter is interested in playing hockey in Calgary, this post has everything you need to know to get her registered, in the right equipment and with the right team.
Girls hockey has grown like crazy over the last few decades and is a great way for girls to play a team sport and make some friends along the way. Who knows, your daughter might even be the next Hayley Wickenheiser!
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Girls hockey equipment
Girls hockey equipment is super simple to buy. There isn’t anything needed for girl’s hockey that is out of the ordinary, just make sure you pick out a jill instead of a jock.
If your daughter is just starting out and you live in Canada, there are equipment sets that you can buy at Canadian Tire that includes everything except for a helmet, skates and a stick all for under $100. Sticks, helmets and skates are also pretty cheap at Canadian Tire.
If you’re looking for more specific pieces of gear, check out Hockey Experts (Sport Chek’s hockey store), Source for Sports or Pro Hockey Life.
Used equipment is also a great idea, especially if your daughter isn’t 100% sure that she’ll want to play hockey for more than one or two seasons. The best place for used equipment in Calgary is Play it Again Sports. You can also sell your gear to them to make some money.
Although second hand equipment isn’t new, it still works just fine! Most of the goalie gear that I wore when I started out was used.
Most places that sell hockey equipment will also sharpen skates.
Girls wanting to play hockey in Calgary have a few options. There is always the option to play mixed hockey. The mixed hockey league is quadrant based.
This means that your child – girl or boy, will likely play in arenas close to your neighbourhood. The mixed league offers hockey for children ages 5 to 21.
Hockey age groups
Many of the age groups are tiered, so your daughter will be playing hockey with people of the same skill level. Many girls begin in mixed hockey, but transfer over to girl’s hockey at the age 15, when contact is allowed in the mixed league. The schedule is not always consistent, with games and practices any night of the week.
Rec hockey Calgary
Another option in Calgary is recreational hockey. Rec hockey is much more low-key than the mixed league or the girls league. The rec league offers hockey for ages 11 to 20.
The games happen on the same night every week, making it perfect for people who want to play, but also have other activities on the side. And we all know how busy Calgary families can be.
Girls Hockey Calgary
The third option is to play girl’s hockey. The league in the city that offers girl’s only hockey is Girls Hockey Calgary. The league offers hockey for girls aged 7 to 18.
The league partners with Hockey Calgary, Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada. The teams are tiered but have less tiers than mixed hockey. The league also offers an elite hockey program from ages 15 to 18.
The Girls Hockey Calgary league is non-contact, meaning there is no hitting. I grew up playing hockey in this league and met some of my best friends through it. Just note that the schedule fluctuates and isn’t the same night every week.
Power skating Calgary
For girls wanting to improve their skills beyond practices, there are tons of power skating and training options. Some of the most common power skating schools in Calgary are Breakaway Power Skating, Tucker Hockey and Clark Power Skating.
Power skating is best for girls who already know how to skate, but want to improve their skills. They’ll learn how to have a more powerful stride, start and stop faster, and skate backwards.
Girls who are just learning to skate can often benefit from skating lessons. Skating lessons are offered by most arenas in the city, especially ones that are owned by City of Calgary. These lessons are great for beginners to get better at starting and stopping and staying standing up while skating.
If your daughter wants to follow a more elite track, spring hockey and hockey camps are a great way to get her the best training. There are spring hockey leagues that play outside of the regular season and often travel and compete against other teams.
Hockey camps are often during the summer or on weekends. Some spring leagues and camps to check out are: Spartan Outlaws Elite Female Hockey Development, Edge Spring Hockey, Sylvan Lake Hockey Camp and the Dinos Hockey Camps.
Watching Women’s hockey in Calgary
Unfortunately, watching women’s hockey in Calgary isn’t as easy as it used to be. In 2019, the CWHL Inferno, Calgary’s professional women’s hockey team, went bankrupt and the league folded.
The closest that the city has to professional women’s hockey now are the University and College teams, playing out of SAIT, University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. Schedules can be found on the university websites.
Another option is the GHC Inferno AAA Midget team. These girls are in the elite program of Girls Hockey Calgary and are the top of the elite level. They play out of Father David Bower arena and the schedule can be found on the Alberta Female Hockey League website.
The women’s Olympic hockey team also trains out of Winsport and often play exhibition games against the boys AAA teams in the city. These games are a great way to introduce your daughter to her idols and girls who started out just like she did.
Have any tips that we missed? Leave them in the comments below for everyone to learn!