Article by: Team Saskatchewan
Charlottetown, PE – Team Saskatchewan, and the Canada Games, are giving back in PEI.
Team Saskatchewan’s Women’s Hockey and Ringette teams are breaking ground at the Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island.
Both teams have every staff position filled by women, which is the hockey team’s first time since the 1995 games in Grand Prairie Alberta where the roster is fully-female.
“I think it’s a really great reflection of where our province sits in terms of female coaches,” said Women’s Hockey Head Coach Robin Ulrich. “The ability that we can put an entire staff together is really cool.”
Saskatchewan is the only team to boast an all-women’s staff in hockey, which is a statement to their development of female coaches in the province and the evolution of the game.
Joel Houseman of Hockey Saskatchewan said this was something their group has been pushing for.
“Having an all-female staff, for us, we’re really proud of it,” he said. “It’s something we’ve been striving towards, and it’s great to see it come together here at the Canada Winter Games.”
The hockey team is still in the mix, facing off against Nova Scotia at 5:30 pm Saskatchewan time today in a quarterfinal matchup. They finished the preliminary round robin with one win and two losses, including a close 4-2 loss to Quebec.
Jada Johns, Captain of the women’s hockey team, feels having an all-female staff is important in many different ways.
“It’s so good to have female coaches because they can relate to you, talk to you. Some of our coaches have gone to the Canada Games many times, coached Canada Games, so it’s nice to have their experience with us as well,” said Johns.
For the Ringette staff and players, they are coming home with a bronze medal after defeating the host Prince Edward Island team in the third-place game last Saturday, reaching the podium for the first time since 1999.
Ringette Head Coach Mel Brockman was a part of that 99’ team, which took home bronze as well. Now, she led her all-female staff to the second Ringette medal in the province’s history.
“That was actually a goal of mine for this program, to have an all-female staff,” said Brockman. “It’s an all-female sport, for the most part.”
“Just to have leaders in that role for the athletes to look up to, I think it’s really important that they can see themselves in their leaders.”
One of her players and Assistant Captains, Madeline Stang, felt the female staff for both of the women’s teams is great for the sports future in the province.
“It’s super great that both teams (have full female coaching staffs,)” she said proudly. “I think that’s really awesome for the younger girls to look up to, and be like, ‘hey, I can do that too.”
Photo: Dennis Navarro