Five New Trends in Girls Hocke
FIVE NEW TRENDS in girls Bantam and Midget players inspires Head Coach Randy Rosen to include ‘shake it off’ and team building at training camps.
(SHERWOOD PARK, ALBERTA) Head Coach Randy Rosen, president of Red Light Hockey in Sherwood Park, Alberta, has noticed some amazing and inspiring behavior from his young female players during his training camps.
A well respected and experienced head coach of Midget AA in Sherwood Park Kings Club, Rosen has been teaching co-ed boys and girls in bantam, midget and pee-wee hockey skills for 15 years. Red Light Hockey participants range in age from 9 to 15.
Working together with assistant coach and former Boston Bruins player Jay Henderson (currently an assistant coach with the Kootenay Ice) as well as five highly skilled players from Sherwood Park’s midget triple AAA hockey teams, Rosen has been noticing some interesting trends in skills and behaviours that girls bring to the game:
1. Girls “Shake it Off” attitude keeps them focused and inspires male players to do the same. Coach Rosen has noticed that female players will often clue male players in about the need to let go of the stress and disappointment of a missed goal or bad performance. “I think they take cues from Taylor Swift, but these girls have a great mental advantage over most of the guys,” he says. “One girl on my son’s hockey team speaks up when the guys get mad at each other, constantly complaining about a bad goal or a missed opportunity. She isn’t the first female player I’ve seen to tell the guys to shake it off and look at the reality of sport—that the other team will score and we just have to get back in there and score in return. The guys are surprised that she would challenge them so directly but a lot of them quiet down after a while and focus on being positive.”
2. More female players are taking more risks on the ice when playing with boys. While most coaches would anticipate girls falling back and letting the boys take on the power plays, Rosen finds just the opposite. “I see more and more girls in the off season playing lacrosse,” he says. “They come in with a greater advantage. I always find them more physically tough than some of the male players. That means when they are going in to fight for a puck in the corner, they are going to hit it with their stick much harder than some of the boys. Many of the young male players
are more timid because they don’t want to hurt a girl, but I often make the comment on the bench that they need to treat the girls as any other respected team member.
3. Girls have more fun playing the game. It is well known that girls mature faster socially than boys, and this seems to be an advantage on the ice during practice or competition, especially when things don’t go too well. “I find the girls seem to have a much more fun time when they are playing when the boys do,” says RLH Head Coach Randy Rosen. “I have noticed that, the girls could get absolutely slaughtered in a game, but they seem to let it slide. The male players can’t seem to let it go and they brood and replay mistakes over and over. That can affect their ability to play for the joy of the game, but also, hanging on to failure can affect performance going forward. Last year, I had a girls’ ball hockey team that lost every single game. Without question they had the loudest fans and the most fun. It never faded.”
4. The game is attracting girls from other cultures. New Canadian parents are encouraging their kids, especially girls, to experience the thrill of hockey. Rosen has noticed a spike in more immigrant and first-generation Canadian girls joining his camps and signing up for ball hockey and lacrosse. “I think the parents are seeing the benefits of putting their daughters in sports. They have learned to love the game and are inspired by consistent gold-medal performance and legacy of the women’s Olympic hockey team. It teaches cultural diversity and respect among players—they realize that despite language or cultural differences, they are all the same on the ice.”
5. Girls are becoming more eager to add their opinion in the locker room. While there will always be shy players who watch and listen to team banter and advice from coaches, but Rosen has noticed more girls are building the courage to speak up about team building and performance. “On every co-ed camp, we usually have about three or four girls that sign up. At the beginning, most are quiet, but there will be one or two that inspires the others to speak up, ask questions and be supportive of the other members of their team. It’s like their confidence builds with their training and they find that their voice matters. This inspires all the players to discuss challenges to get to the solutions.”