The hockey league of ‘Mostly Moms’
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.
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.