Skip to content

Hockey Canada’s One For All female camp takes over Multiplex

When it comes to female hockey camps in the North, there have been many over the years. Some will remember the Diamonds in the Rough camps and Hockey NWT’s All-Female Development Camps that were usually held in late summer.

This past weekend, though, saw perhaps the largest effort put forth for women’s hockey in the North and it was very well-received.

Hockey Canada brought the One For All camp to the Multiplex with hundreds of women and girls from the NWT and Nunavut for a weekend featuring just about everything you could imagine when it comes to hosting a hockey camp.

Kaylee Grant, Hockey North’s women and girls lead, said the actual count was 193 registered players with minor hockey associations around the NWT and Nunavut with an additional 45 as part of the First Shift program.

And it was an amazing show, she added, as they took over the Multiplex.

“The support and inclusion we had from Hockey Canada was a huge part of why it was so successful,” she said. “In the past, we’ve had the ice time and we ran some clinics, but Hockey Canada brought so many staff members and it was a such a huge benefit to us.”

Those coaches looked after all of the on-ice and off-ice activities with help from those involved with Hockey North. On the ice, there were small-area games, skills and drills, exhibition games involving the Yk Robins women’s hockey league and both Team NT and Team Nunavut’s Arctic Winter Games teams. The off-ice component included the First Shift program, which provides brand new players between the ages of six to 10 with equipment and a chance to get in on the sport at the ground level. There was also work on the mental side of the game and leadership sessions.

The Aboriginal Sports Circle of the NWT was also on hand to do some Arctic sports demonstrations with athlete James Williams taking the lead and there was a watch party of the Professional Women’s Hockey League game between Toronto and Montreal on Feb. 17.

Grant said there was absolutely no let-up among the girls at all, even with hours being spent at the rink.

“Some of the girls were there for up to 14 hours a day,” she said. “We thought we had worked them hard, but they were still ready to go even on the last day.”

The special guests for the weekend included Meghan Agosta and Cherie Piper, two former members of the national women’s team program and they were front and centre in everything that went on in terms of coaching, speaking and providing support.

Jessica Cox of Fort Smith is someone who has been involved in all-female camps in the NWT for many years and she was part of it all this past weekend, though not as a coach or instructor. She was a volunteer helper for a couple of the groups on-ice, as well as playing in the exhibition women’s games.

She said the big difference between this camp and those that have come before was the scale of it all.

“You had Hockey Canada, Hockey North, the two zones that make up Hockey North in Hockey NWT and Hockey Nunavut — everyone was invested in making this a success,” she said. “When you give female players an experience like this, you see the enthusiasm and that sort of investment will only pay off down the road. It makes you feel hopeful for the future of the women’s game.”

Grant agreed with that sentiment.

“This is what happens when we all come together,” she said. “We can do big things when we show the girls that we’re there to support them.”