Original story posted here.
Call it the changing face of recreational hockey.
The Whitehorse Women's Hockey Association has proven so popular this year, there's a waiting list to get on one of the league's eight teams. They were full 13 hours after registration opened.
And it's also proving to be a good family bonding activity — there are five mother-daughter pairs playing this year.
"I like to play with her, not against her, because someone's gotta keep an eye on this one! She gets a little feisty," said Jessica Pumphrey, laughing. She was talking about her mom, Nancy Pumphrey.
Jessica has been hitting the ice since she was a youngster, but Nancy only took up the sport at age 40.
"I decided that I'd give it a try," she said.
"I've had kids stop me on my way into the rink and look at me and say, 'Aren't you too old to play hockey?' I said: 'Of course not!'"
"Never too old, never too young," Jessica added.
"That's it," said Nancy.
'You know, you should play hockey'
Helen Christiansen is also relatively new to hockey. She's playing her fifth season in the Whitehorse league, along with her daughter, Danica Christiansen, who's been playing since she was a kid.
Helen decided to take it up when she first moved up to Yukon from B.C. At the time, she didn't even know how to skate.
"I was up at the Canada Games Centre on the elliptical, and the lady beside me said, 'You know, you should play hockey.' And I'm thinking, well why not," she recalled.
"It was a leap of faith."
Helen's first hockey game was her first time on the ice, she says — but she feels it was the best way to learn to skate. When she scored her first goal she knew exactly what her kids felt, when they had scored their first goals.
"Very cool experience, and I wish I had taken it up sooner in life," Helen said.
Danica said it's been great for everybody.
"It's a good family affair, twice a week. So our husbands come to the game and cheer us on. So it's kind of nice for my husband and father-in-law to bond."
Cheryl Rivest and her daughter Chantelle Rivest have been lacing up their skates together for years now. Chantelle recalled first facing off against her mom when she was 11 years old.
A few years later, mother and daughter were playing on the same team, as they are now, in the women's league.
"It's so much fun. It's like reading somebody's mind, if you know them really well," Cheryl said.
"You're able to know how the plays are going to work, you kind of know where they're gonna go in certain situations. It just makes it smoother, faster."
'A very encouraging league'
Cheryl said the Whitehorse league has done an amazing job in attracting more players, of all different skill levels.
"It's a very encouraging league. I think that that has made the difference," she said.
Jessica Pumphrey agrees. She said this year's waiting list to register shows there's a palpable spirit of camaraderie and community in the league.
"It invites more women to come play, right? Because they hear that it's so much fun, so welcoming and accepting, and everyone just wants to come out and hang, and it's cool," Pumphrey said.
"I love it."