Playing in the Long Game

Arviat takes part in nationwide Hockey Canada female event

Darrell Greer | ARVIAT
November 18, 2015

A group of Arviat girls took part in a nationwide event featuring the game of hockey this past month.

The girls played in the Long Game event, which was a highlight of the third edition of Hockey Canada’s World Girls Hockey Weekend Event.

The Long Game has female players from coast to coast across Canada uniting in a single goal of celebrating and growing the game of female hockey.

Arctic Winter Games Team Nunavut bantam hockey coach Ryan O’Connor organized the Arviat event. O’Connor said girls in Arviat and Iqaluit took part in the program, but there wasn’t enough time to schedule any form of competition between the two communities.

He said the Arviat girls were divided into two teams and, with no ice available yet at the local arena, squared-off in a game of ball hockey.

“Each province and territory had a time slot during the day based on their time zone to play a game of hockey,” said O’Connor.

“The event started at 9 a.m. Newfoundland time and games were played every hour from there across the country until about 8 p.m. Mountain Time.

“So, female hockey was played across Canada for about 12 hours.

“We were encouraged to participate by Hockey Canada, so, with no ice, we decided to co-ordinate a ball hockey game and it was a lot of fun.”

Even though the Arviat turnout was a little on the small side, the girls who did participate gave it their all during the three 20-minute periods.

O’Connor said the turnout would have been higher with more notice given, especially during a holiday weekend.

He said when he decided to mix the age groups to form two teams, it resulted in girls as young as nine years of age playing along with older girls and even a couple of adult females.

“We had one girl who hadn’t played before and she’s very interested in playing hockey this year.

“So, she came out to participate in the ball hockey and that allowed her to try out the sport for the first time.

“She enjoyed it, so, hopefully, she’s going to be playing some ice hockey with us this year.

“Everyone had a blast, and it was a lot of fun to watch the younger girls participate and really enjoy themselves.”