Yannick Truter, who is looking to develop her hockey career in the United States, skates past the opposition goaltender. Truter has spoken out against the poor treatment female hockey players face on Vancouver Island. (Photo courtesy of Andre Truter)

Governing bodies accused of ‘destroying’ girls’ hockey by Island’s top team

When asked for advice hockey dad says ‘put your girls in soccer’

Some players and parents of the Vancouver Seals hockey team have expressed their anger at Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association (VIAHA) and BC Hockey’s treatment of the team alleging a litany of failings.

Due to the mixed nature of sharing administrative responsibilities, the criticism has been divided between the two organizations.

“I truly believe that BC Hockey is destroying [female] hockey on the Island through their indifference and apathy,” says Seals captain and All-Star Yannick Truter, who is leaving to play in the U.S.

RELATED: Sidney hockey players back on home ice with the Vancouver Island Seals

The Midget AAA Seals are at the highest level of girls hockey on the Island, and draw players from across the rock, relying on the governing bodies to organize ice time. However, VIAHA female member numbers have steadily declined over the past five years, from 390 to 260, in a sport experiencing massive female participation elsewhere in Canada.

Each Seal pays around $7,500 per year to BC Hockey and expects the same level of administrative support the boys’ teams enjoy. These include regular 3.75 hours of ice time per week, convenient practice slots and games scheduled at appropriate times.

They say that none of these expectations were met last season, and without club and parental support, as well as sympathetic local associations and rinks, the team wouldn’t have been able to function.

ALSO READ: Peninsula the launching pad for explosion of women’s sporting talent

Boys teams of a comparable level enjoy multiple practices a week, while the girls usually only get two. As it turned out, VIAHA only provided two practice slots for the entire season and four slots for games. The Seals were forced to lobby for more and had to rely on supplementary sessions at Shawnigan Lake that their manager had booked at the start of the season.

“The ice we were provided was basically just ‘throw away slots’ that nobody wanted because they were in such remote locations at ridiculous times,” explains Truter, saying many players got home after midnight.

The thrill of game night was also ruined, with their games being scheduled for empty rinks on Friday afternoons when fans were at work and the students should have been in school.

Truter says she and her teammates’ development stalled and she calls on BC Hockey to pay back the money they received from the players.

ALSO READ: New P.A.C.E. soccer club shoots for players

When contacted, BC Hockey said they recently undertook a review of programming and developed a female hockey model. They added, “We are encouraged from the positive feedback we have received to the new model and we have several initiatives in progress in our efforts to grow the female game. Our female participants currently make up approximately 10 per cent of our membership and we feel we can grow that number significantly under our model for female hockey.”

VIAHA echoes those sentiments with president Jim Humphrey saying “All of us are hoping that once things get set up we all hope we can attract more females to hockey.”

Truter’s father, Andre, says he is disappointed as the girls have the same aspirations in the game as the boys do.

“This team was supposed to be the flagship for female hockey. Unfortunately, they had to play their games in obscure arenas at obscure times,” he said. “When people here tell me their daughters love hockey and they ask my advice, I tell them ‘put your girls in soccer.’”



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Increased rental construction boosts housing starts across Greater Victoria

Rest of Vancouver Island experiencing spillover effect from Greater Victoria

Bay Street Bridge construction begins today

Point Ellice Bridge will be closed to eastbound vehicle traffic until October

Some showers, high of 18 C for Tuesday

Plus a look ahead at your weekly forecast

Survey finds 15 per cent of Canadian cannabis users with a valid licence drive within two hours of using

Survey also finds middle-aged men are upping their usage following legalization

VIDEO: Fun without sun: Hundreds enjoy Family Fest on Victoria Day

Families enjoy activities in Veterans Memorial Park

Mamma Mia! poised to be biggest Chemainus Theatre show ever

Plenty of buzz as Island dinner theatre schedules ABBA-fueled romp

New book from Island author details social history of the E&N railway

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River.

Should B.C. already be implementing province-wide fire bans?

A petition is calling for B.C. Wildfire Service to issue a ban to reduce risk of human caused wildfires

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several days, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Most Read