ESBJERG, Denmark – Last year, Tim Veale came across a few photos, and what he saw stunned him. In the photos that were 15-20 years old, there were not just one, but two Esbjerg women’s teams.
And today, there are none.
Today, after a successful Girls Hockey Day – which turned into a celebration of hockey – there may just be enough interest to build a new team.
All in all, about 40 people crowded the ice in Esbjerg, many of the teenagers and older.
“I’d guess that only about ten percent were under ten, which was a little surprising,” Veale told IIHF.com.
Surprising, yes, but fine by all means. The girls who were under ten had a blast, including Veale’s 7-year-old daughter Olivia, who’s been skating since she was a toddler. After all, her father, besides being a on the club’s board, is also Canadian.
“It’d be great to have a women’s team here so that the girls like Olivia, who plays with boys, would have someone to look up to when they get into their teens,” Veale said.
The club has already set aside the ice time for the team, twice a week, and now they hope to find a captain to step up and take charge to get the team up and running. Maybe Kit Bærentsen, a former national team player, who was on the ice during the Girls Hockey Day event is the one.
“There is a rich hockey tradition here, and we have a top division men’s team, Esbjerg Energy, in town. The numbers aren’t that big, but we pay a lot of attention on the recruitment of new players,” Veale said.
And with dozens of eager girls on the ice today, and more to follow, maybe one day there will be two women’s teams in Esbjerg again. And maybe they’ll all be home-grown talents, coming up through their own ranks.
“It’s a little different when it’s an all-girl team,” Veale says, recognizing the fact that Esbjerg isn’t quite there yet.
“When Olivia first taped her stick with the pink tape and put the pink laces in her skates, they didn’t look like hockey colours to me, but she likes it, and she’s got a lot of positive attention for them,” he adds.
Pink, red, black. All hockey colours.
Visit our tracker to find out about more events all around the world.