The hockey league of ‘Mostly Moms’

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Coat­i­cok

This year marks a spe­cial an­niver­sary for Coat­i­cook’s women’s hockey league: a group of women of all ages who have been play­ing hockey to­gether now for ten years at the Ger­ard Couil­lard Arena. “In the be­gin­ning we were just a bunch of women who wanted to

play. And since Coat­i­cook has a nice arena, we started rent­ing ice time and now we play ev­ery se­cond week, some­times ev­ery week. It’s hard to get ice time so once you’re es­tab­lished, you keep your time slot,” ex­plained Kelly Holmes, a long­time player in the league, in an in­ter­view with the Stanstead Jour­nal.

Al­though there are only, on av­er­age, about twen­tytwo to twenty-five play­ers in this league, its mem­bers are about as di­verse as you can get. “We have French and English girls, mar­ried, sin­gle and even some mother and daugh­ter com­bi­na­tions. It all meshes very well to­gether,” con­tin­ued Kelly whose daugh­ter, Sa­rina School­craft, some­times plays. To en­sure there are al­ways enough play­ers to make two teams, if a player has to miss a game they must find an ‘out­side’ player to come in and re­place them!

The ages and abil­i­ties of the play­ers are also all over the spec­trum, from teenagers to the likes of Mar­jorie Ross, a player in her late six­ties. “It’s so nice to see all the young girls play. They’re very tal­ented and able, some have played with the Cham­plain Cougars, but they’re very re­spect­ful when they play. They could skate cir­cles around us if they wanted to but in­stead they just put the puck on our sticks, over and over again. When we play, the games are more like fam­ily time than like com­pe­ti­tions,” said Ms. Holmes.

This fam­ily-ori­ented league also re­lies on a few male fam­ily mem­bers for some im­por­tant game tasks ev­ery time they play. “Jim Porter ref­er­ees all of our games – his wife Carol plays in the league. And our goalies are al­ways men: Josee La­plante’s son Olivier will be in one net and An­nie Favreau’s part­ner Daniel will be in the other.”

With just enough play­ers for two teams, the teams are de­cided in the dress­ing room just min­utes be­fore each game. “We just draw cards to make the teams. You never know who you’ll be play­ing with but the teams usu­ally turn out pretty even. It’s a good way to di­vide up the teams be­cause that way you never get any ‘cliques’,” said Kelly.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, the play­ers in this league ven­ture out of Coat­i­cook and head to the Pat Burns Arena. “Stanstead’s Fri­day night women’s league in­vites us up there to play some­times. It’s all very friendly and we’ll hang out and get pizza to­gether af­ter the game.”

Over the ten years play­ers have come and gone, how­ever, a core group has laced up their black hockey skates ev­ery fall to skate in this friendly league. “Some of us have played hockey all our lives and this gives us a chance to play with not only our friends but also our daugh­ters, and to play just for the love of the sport,” con­cluded Kelly.

To cel­e­brate the ten years, the play­ers will fi­nally be get­ting proper hockey jer­seys soon, thanks in large part to a gen­er­ous, lo­cal spon­sor.

photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

The Coat­i­cook Women’s Hockey league, their two male goalies and their loyal ref­eree, show­ing their en­thu­si­asm be­fore Mon­day night’s game. Seen here but in al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der are: Marie-Eve Bernier-Sheehy, Guy­laine Blouin, Josée Cliche, Renée Cliche, Stephanie Cot­noir, Daniel Doyon (goalie), Manon Dubois, Caro­line Fau­teux, Isabel Fau­teux, Anny Favreau, Kelly Holmes, Nancy Humphrey, Olivier Ja­ton (goalie), Josee La­plante, Mar­lene Lemieux, Ca­role Moreau, Pas­cale Par­adis, Carol Porter, Jim Porter (ref­eree), Nathalie Samson and Sha­nia Walker. Miss­ing from the photo were Jeanne Dubois, Em­lyne Fon­taine and He­len Well­man.

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