Hayley Schaefer playing for the Royals. “When you’re skating down the ice with the puck on your stick it’s such a rush.” (Courtesy of Mark Schaefer)

Trailblazing Peninsula hockey player talks growing up as the only girl on the team

When faced with lack of opportunity for girls, Hayley Schaefer played her way into boys teams

When Hayley Schaefer was two and a half years old she hiked the Diamond head trail in Hawaii, stubbornly refusing any help from her parents. So they weren’t much surprised when her friend Marlene invited her to a Lace Em Up session at the Panorama Ice Rink and she came off the ice saying, “I want to do this!”

Like many girls, Schaefer found limited opportunities on the Island hockey scene so decided to rise to the challenge of playing her way onto boys teams.

ALSO READ: Governing bodies accused of ‘destroying’ girls’ hockey by Island’s top team

Schaefer, who plays centre, said that her skills did the talking and any misgivings from her new team-mates quickly turned to respect.

“Luckily I knew the guys from school so it wasn’t too awkward and the guys accepted me, which was pretty neat,” she says.

She started as the only girl on the Peninsula Eagles boys’ Novice team and played for them through Atom, Peewee and Bantam levels. At Atom level, she also joined a newly formed girls team, which swept almost all the competition giving Schaefer a taste for winning banners and tournaments.

When it was time to join the Bantam division, Schaefer realized she would have to also try out for the rough and tumble boys’ Rep team if she was to continue her development. She was placed on the C Major team before progressing to the Rep B team in her second year. Shaefer says she grew in confidence and, as the only girl, enjoyed winning spots on the teams ahead of other competitive boys.

ALSO READ: North Saanich soccer sensation takes game to next level in Iceland

After playing in hard-hitting Rep boys hockey for two years, she discovered Spring Hockey and was selected for the South Island Royals A team. In her three years with the Royals, the team achieved great runs in the provincial championships, coming away with gold and silver medals. Another successful tournament run was at “WickFest”, winning a silver medal at the Hayley Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival.

Schaefer says she just loves hockey and would play it any time she could, often hitting the ice six times a week.

“I’m a super energetic person, I love skating as it’s an enclosed area to get out all your energy and when you’re skating down the ice with the puck on your stick it’s such a rush,” she says.

While at the Parkland hockey academy, her coach helped her secure a $1,500 bursary from the Sidney Retreads old-timer hockey team in recognition of her commitment to the sport.

ALSO READ: Canada Women’s Rugby 7s Team land at home after series triumph

Schaefer has now aged out of the Royals but leaves behind a legacy for other girls to follow. She hopes that opportunities for girls will increase in the next few years.

“I know there are some girls who don’t feel comfortable playing with the guys, so for their sake it would be super nice to have more options, rather than just the house team and the really competitive team. There should really be an in between for those girls who don’t want to be super super competitive but still want to play up a level.”

For now, Schaefer plans to explore her love of climbing and outdoor pursuits. One thing’s for sure though, she says laughing, hockey will always remain a part of her life.

“I’ll definitely go back to hockey in the future. Drop hockey after this year? No, I don’t think I could ever do that.”



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Rickter Scale: Children in the eye of the porn storm

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column

BC Ferries’ two new hybrid vessels set sail for B.C. from Romania

Two Island Class ferries to be in use by 2020

Oak Bay is the second-least dangerous community in Canada according crime index

Victoria and Esquimalt ranks 32nd in Canada, 9th in British Columbia

Plant-based pizza restaurant to open its doors in Victoria this December

Virtuous Pie has locations in Vancouver, Toronto and Portland

VIDEO: Ron MacLean says he doesn’t believe former co-host Don Cherry is racist

Sportsnet fired Cherry on Nov. 11, two days after controversial on-air comments during ‘Coach’s Corner’

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

Distracted driving tickets not for ICBC revenue, B.C. minister says

Minister Mike Farnworth calls SenseBC analysis ‘nonsense’

CN Rail strike and lack of trucking alternatives stoke forest industry fears

Companies calling on the federal government to ‘do everything in its power’ to end the strike

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveils new Liberal cabinet

Pivotal role in his new cabinet for a minority-government era goes to Chrystia Freeland

B.C. woman puts call out for 10,000 personal, heartfelt Christmas cards for the homeless

Christmas Card Collective enters into third year of making spirits bright

No turn signals, double-parking among top concerns for B.C. drivers: poll

Two-thirds of B.C. drivers said that not using turn signals was their biggest pet peeve

1 dead, 2 seriously injured in crash with elk on Hwy. 18 in Cowichan

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP were called to the scene at about 8 p.m. Tuesday night

Man accused in fatal Shuswap church shooting also charged with arson

Parmenter family home badly damaged by fire a month before killing

Most Read