It was a toss up between gymnastics and hockey until six-year-old Rebecca Crowell strapped on a pair of skates and s
uited up with all the necessary protective gear, and – with the help of her mother – pulled on her new pink hockey jersey.
The Grade 2 student from Richard Bulpitt Elementary has been attending her older brothers hockey practices and games since she was a week old, and just newly released from hospital.
So, indirectly, she’s been immersed in the hockey world for her entire life.
But now, just days before her seventh b
irthday, Rebecca found herself debating whether she’d follow her brother Scott in learning the ice sport, or whether she’d rather submerge herself in gymnastics. She starts gymnastics classes Monday, and her mother, Chantal, has said she must pick between one or the other.
“I think, after I’m done gymnastics, I’ll move into hockey,” said the young girl, as she suited up and hit the ice during this weekend’s Esso Fun Day – Come Try Hockey.
She was one of 18 young girls – between the age of five to eight – who took advantage of the free event at the Sportsplex Arena in Walnut Grove Saturday to give hockey a try.
Participants, including Rebecca, spent the first hour in a classroom learning the fundamentals of hockey, then after suiting up, the girls spent another an hour-in-a-half on the ice.
Some, like Rebecca, were still not completely comfortable on skates, but all took part – in varying degrees – in exercises and games run by event head coach Simon Tanner, as well was a team of volunteers an
d older and experienced members of the girls hockey league.
Langley Girls Ice Hockey Association has been hoping to hold an event of this scope for years, said event organizer Hilary Saunders.
But pulling together an event of this magnitude
has been a task, Saunders said.
For instance, the association has spent the past two years collecting protection equipment to help these girls get outfitted and out on the ice to try out the sport.
The hope, Saunders said, is that more girls will discover how much fun the sport can be, she added.
Thankfully, with Esso and Hockey Canada becoming involved this year – they league received the help they needed to make the event possible.
Not only did they come to the table with money to cover the cost of ice rental, but offered various prizes, and donated a white and pink jerseys for each of the young girls participating.
“It was a huge success from our perspective, and also a lot of fun,” Saunders said.
“We showed these girls what female hockey was all about and they seemed to love it. Many of our older players came out to help the new ones on the ice, so it was a team effort,” Saunders said, commenting on the contagious enthusiasm that prominent throughout the event.
For more information about getting young girls involved in hockey in Langley, people can visit www.lgiha.com.
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CAPTION: Thumbs up from Rebecca Crowell, six, who gave hockey a try Saturday.