Glendine (Kenny) Cull strapped on a set of goalie pads at seven years old and took the crease for a squirt team in Deer Lake in 1973.
She would enjoy being the last line of defence for a couple of years before she decided she wanted to play out and score goals instead of trying to stop them.
It wasn’t a walk in the park for a young girl who was one of just two females — the other being Lana Turner — registered in a minor hockey program that had 300 boys registered at the time.
It wasn’t cool to be a girl playing hockey back in the day, but her dad, Pat Kenny, fought for her rights and eventually she was accepted into the fold like everybody else.
She played minor hockey until she was 13, but then she shifted her focus to ringette when her dad introduced that sport to the airport town as an alternative to hockey.
She even tried her hand at officiating hockey when she finished minor hockey and she stuck with the program for 20 years.
Nowadays, she is still active on the ice, a regular participant in the Deer Lake Women’s Hockey League that features 19 females who hit the ice for an hour every Wednesday night at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex in Deer Lake.
She is a busy woman working as a public service payroll officer with a 27-year-old daughter who teaches in South Korea, three stepdaughters and five step-grandchildren with her husband, Robert Cull.
Being able to shoot around the pucks with her female friends is something she looks forward to every week. It’s been a fun night with the girls for the past 14 years and she has no plans on slowing down.
“It means a lot,” she said. “Not just the hockey part, but the social aspect of being together with a bunch of women who play hockey and different skill levels because most of these girls never played hockey before.”
She doesn’t recall all the controversy over females playing the game when she was a child and doesn’t really care to think about it now, knowing females playing the game is now acceptable and the game is growing exponentially around the country.
She can’t help but think how great it would have been for her as a child if the game had been as popular as it is today with young females from coast to coast.
She’s excited to see so many females embrace the game, but more importantly she encourages them to continue to push for excellence because there are scholarships available for those who want to play at the elite level and the future looks bright with the strong possibility of a professional women’s hockey league coming to fruition in the near future.
“I’m so elated now that girls have so much opportunity to play,” she said. “Watching them develop their skill level right up through is amazing.”