Female hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador took a big step towards taking control of its own interests over the weekend when Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador approved the formation of a Female Council.
The move gives female hockey the same governing authority as minor, junior and senior, and also adds five additional representatives to HNL’s board of directors.
“We can now govern our game a whole lot better,” said Female Council chair Debbie Bouzane of Gander. “We had been the only program with no representation on the board of directors, other than myself. It was hard to make decisions and govern the game at the board level where decisions are made.”
Prior to the 2018 Hockey NL annual general meeting held over the weekend in Gander, female hockey was served only by a committee, with one vote at the board level — Bouzane’s.
“Before this, we had no vote — except for mine — on anything that had dealt with constitutional change or playing rules changes regarding female hockey. And the way female hockey is growing, we need to govern our own game a whole lot better.”
Hockey NL Female Council chair Debbie Bouzane
Now that the Female Council has been established, female hockey comes to the board with five additional votes — Female Council secretary Tracey Hatcher, and zone coordinators Denise Fagan (eastern), Heidi Hefford (central), Bonnie Knott (western) and Tina Martin (Labrador).
“Before this, we had no vote — except for mine — on anything that had dealt with constitutional change or playing rules changes regarding female hockey.
“And the way female hockey is growing, we need to govern our own game a whole lot better.
“With all due respect, senior and junior councils don’t really know a whole lot about female hockey, which, in all fairness, they didn’t have to in the past.”
Female hockey across the country continues to show a growth in registration numbers, and that’s no different in Newfoundland and Labrador where the registration is around 2,000 players.
“The numbers have almost doubled in six years, which is when I first started at the administrative level,” Bouzane said.
Female currently has under-12, U15 and U20 divisions, and Bouzane said there will be a big push on developing an under-9 division.
Most girls that age are playing minor hockey with the boys, “but some little girls are sometimes intimidated with the boys, or with male coaches
“We have some kids that have started with the initiation program (ages 5-6), but have come over to our under-9 program.”
Female hockey currently has AAA divisions in peewee, bantam and midget divisions involving Eastern, Tri-Pen, Central and Western teams. This year’s Atlantic AAA championship is slated for April 4-7 in Clareville.