We had a chance to chat with Theresa Dalueg, Community Economic Development Officer for the Municipality of Pond Inlet, Nunavut, about the development of their women's recreational hockey team!
Congratulations to the team! This has been quite the journey, can you share how developing the women’s program came about?
CARHA Hockey contacted the Recreation Department to inquire about if there was a women’s hockey team. Since there wasn’t a team currently, I created a Facebook poll to see if the community would be interested and I received a very strong YES so I started to get to work
What does having a women’s team mean for Pond Inlet?
Having a women’s hockey team supports gender equity and equality for Pond Inlet. The hockey team provides women of all ages a chance to participate. This helps improve mental and physical health, strengthen social bonds, and young girls are motivated and excited to join in the future
What are some of the barriers that women in the community face to playing hockey or participating in sports in general?
The main barrier is financial restrictions. Hockey equipment is expensive and extremely difficult to get in the Arctic. Families are very supportive for women to play hockey. Because there is already a strong community love of hockey in Pond Inlet. Many of the athletes were new to hockey as well so we're able to provide a variety of sizes so they could figure out the best fit.
What has been a major accomplishment or highlight?
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no team sports were allowed until February 28, 2022. The biggest highlight was the very first team practice on March 1, 2022, when all of the athletes got to practice on the ice. There was so much excitement and happiness in the air. Having this first team practice solidified the team and made it a reality
The team has not been able to travel as of yet, but is there a team they are most looking forward to playing against or tournament to play in?
Any women’s team in Nunavut!
What is next for the program and how can others help support the growth of women’s hockey?
Next for the program is to continue to find funding for future athletes who wish to join the team. The goal is to continue to grow the team, develop skills, and have fun. The biggest way others can help support the growth of women’s hockey is to find the specific barrier stopping the team and to work on reducing that barrier. For many teams in the Arctic, it is financial barriers therefore working hard at finding funders to support the program is critical.