Giving girls new to hockey a chance to hit the ice in a fun environment with strong, female role models of all ages has propelled the Grindstone’s Annual Girls Rock The Rink/Esso Fun Day event in Kelowna to success.
The free event run by the Grindstone Award Foundation, with support from Kelowna Minor Hockey and the Hockey Canada Esso Fun Day program, continues to grow in a major way with most participants this year having never played the game before.
“The event is geared towards girls from 4 to 18 years old and open to all skill levels and with that in mind we have a range of notable guest coaches and female role models that share their experiences with the kids. They not only will skate away with new skills and friendships they make on the ice, but will see first-hand how hockey has shaped these role models’ lives,” says Danielle Grundy, President of the Grindstone Award Foundation.
Grundy added it is key to growing Girls Rock The Rink.
“We really work hard to try and reach as many parents and kids as possible by ensuring they know the kids will be getting on the ice in a non-threatening environment. Then we have many successful coaches giving back and donating their time, such as Candice Moxley, assistant coach of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) Clarkson Cup winning Markham Thunder, university players and alumni, right down to junior coaches who are still in the minor hockey league system interacting with the kids. It gives the Girls Rock the Rink participants a range of different backgrounds to interact with.”
2nd Annual Charity Weekend was a huge success! Huge thx to those who played, volunteered or donated to make this event one to remember. #grindstonecharityweekend #essohockeyfundays #tryhockey @ChrisTanouye @HockeyCanada @TheCWHL @LiveTheDreamWHL @kelownamhockey #girlshockey pic.twitter.com/LYaq6pD1yQ
— Grindstone Award (@grindstoneaward) July 24, 2018
For one of the junior coaches and a Grindstone grant recipient, Meadow Arcand-Squakin, it was one of the first time ever coaching. With her own experience being frustrated when she couldn’t skate as good as other players or score a goal, she now hopes to inspire other girls to play. “When I scored my first goal it felt like anything was possible,” shares Arcand-Squakin. “It’s important to bring attention to female hockey because we’ll be stronger the more players we get.”
Grundy also attributes the event’s success to gaining key sponsorships, including a partnership with a local sports store, Play It Again Sports that donates equipment that participants can then borrow at no cost to give hockey a try. We had many girls and also women borrowing equipment for the first time so they could try hockey.
Girls Rock the Rink is an umbrella event organized by the Grindstone Award Foundation, a Registered Charity that enables young female players to participate and improve their skill development in the sport of hockey.
The try-hockey for free event ran in conjunction with the Grindstone Award Foundation’s Annual Women’s Charity Tournament (July 20 to 22). All proceeds from the tournament go towards the charity which provides grants to female players under the age of 19 (across Canada) who have expressed a desire to pursue their goals in hockey. Selection is based on financial need and desire, not hockey ability.
For more information visit www.hockeycanada.ca and www.grindstoneaward.com.
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