June 14th, 2024

Lethbridge lands U13 AA female hockey team

By Lethbridge Herald on February 10, 2023.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

Local female hockey players will have the opportunity to start playing elite hockey earlier in their careers, as Lethbridge Minor Hockey Association was  successful in landing a female U13AA team starting next season.

The Hockey Alberta’s Elite Female Hockey Committee announced earlier this week the addition of 16 minor hockey associations that will be taking on U13AA female teams and one U15AA team each in Calgary and Edmonton.

“There’s been talk for the last couple years of a U13AA as feeder to the U15AA,” said Keith Hitchcock, LMHA general manager.

“But they had to create it as a zone-type team so that they could have a proper competitive balance. On your own, the only ones that could probably do this, would be Calgary and Edmonton; maybe Okotoks because they have numbers. So what they did was they sent it out as an application process, along with your renewals as a AA centre or AAA centre.”

LMHA’s application was due to be reviewed for the U15 and U18AAs

“So they reviewed it all with adding the U13,” said Hitchcock.

“And they awarded it to us as a South Zone representative, as all three teams for a three-year basis.”

“We found that the competitive balance at the tiered levels, the jump was so big from there to U15 AA,” said Hitchcock.

Hitchcock said this will give them a competitive balance in try-outs and allow them to adjust a little faster.

“We think we’re ready for it because we’ve grown to a over 200-person female program,” said Hitchcock.

LMHA will host ID skates and will need all the centres including as far east as Irvine to as far west as Fort MacLeod and Pincher Creek.

“There’s girls in every pocket there and up north of that too into the Foothills area,” Hitchcock.

The team will fall under LMHA’s Southern Express program.

“I think it will give it more exposure,” said Hitchcock.

“It’ll allow people to develop and not have to leave or stay in the male stream as long as they have to.”

The committee is now working with the host association for further details on the program and operations.

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