My niece is over, and she’s running around with her two older cousins – my sons.
“Look at her!” a family member cries. “She’s wants to be one of the boys! Running and jumping and playing tag and basketball too!”
I feel that I should point out that running, jumping, playing tag and basketball are not gender-specific pastimes, but I consider my audience and bite my tongue. After all, I was raised in a generation that praised girls for sitting quietly and playing with dolls – surely, the generation before mine would be even more out of date with their gender bias and perception of social norms.
But as I watch my niece run on her long, strong legs and shout for a chance at the basketball, sweat misting over her sweet little brow, I’m secretly quite pleased. She hasn’t been told “her place” as a little girl is to sit and look pretty. She isn’t scared of getting dirty, screaming too loud or trying too hard. She goes after everything with gusto, not realizing she is part of a new generation where girls’ potential is limitless.
She doesn’t play like a girl. She plays.
This past weekend, more than 350 future female hockey stars hit the ice with Olympic Gold Medalist and Canadian Women’s Hockey League star Natalie Spooner for the 6th annual Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest in Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to mentor young girls and help them pursue their dreams,” said Natalie Spooner. “The support I received from the hockey community growing up in Ontario helped me get to where I am today. Being able to give back through Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest is an honour, and it’s a privilege to celebrate Canada’s game with these girls who share my love for hockey.”
The event featured a day-long on and off ice training series designed to engage and encourage young girls across Canada to dream big and reach their full potential. The event is available at no cost to girls aged 7–12, and the program includes on and off ice training from Olympian Natalie Spooner, members of Canadian Women’s Hockey League team, the Toronto Furies, and Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Development staff.
What an absolutely incredible opportunity to hone their skills, learn about the importance of teamwork and giving back to their community, and most importantly, absorb the very impactful message that girls hockey is not just a pastime – rather, it’s a path to a professional hockey career. Although registration has closed for this year’s sessions, bookmark www.scotiabankgirlshockeyfest.com for information on upcoming Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest events.
And, extra love to Scotiabank, who has had a long tradition of supporting Canadian hockey at all levels – from local teams and minor hockey associations to professional players and leagues. Scotiabank is proud to support over 8,000 community hockey teams across Canada through the Scotiabank Community Hockey Sponsorship Program.
To learn more about the event and Scotiabank’s commitment to kids’ community hockey, visit www.scotiabankgirlshockeyfest.com.
As for my niece? When she’s just a little bit older, I’ll buy her first pair of hockey skates, just like my brother bought hockey skates for my boys. We’re looking for a right wing on our family’s team – I think she’ll fill that position nicely.
This post is sponsored by Scotiabank. The opinions on this blog, as always, are my own.