Cassie Campbell-Pascall believes there is a bright future for budding female hockey females honing their skills on tiny rinks around the country.
The former captain of Canada’s women hockey team believes the female game is growing like crazy across the country and she believes there are so many opportunities available to those who want to play varsity women’s hockey league or professional hockey some day.
“I think the depth is stronger than it’s ever been and our grassroots hockey is as strong as it’s ever been,” Campbell-Pascall told The Western Star in a telephone interview before the Christmas break.
When she was growing up in Brampton and starting to play the game with other girls, she and a friend would attend the Eddie Shack Hockey School where they stood out like a sore thumb because they were only females.
Just last week, she was helping out at the 13th annual Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest in Ottawa and there more than 300 females eager to pick up a few tips on how to be a better player.
“It’s just growing, in our country, just like crazy,” she said.
When she was going to college back in the day a hockey scholarship was tough to get and most of the time the athlete had to pay half their way so it was pretty expensive.
Nowadays, the top players are being offered a chance for full rides and she encourages female players to take advantage of what’s available to them.
“The opportunity to get a free education is right there for the taking just as much as it was for the men so those are good opportunities as well,” she said.
Campbell-Pascall, one of the hockey personalities coming to Corner Brook for Hockey Day in Canada next month, is one of the most decorated female hockey players to wear the Team Canada jersey and her success came when the game was struggling to gain momentum in a game ruled by boys at one time.
She believes today’s female players have a lot more going for them. She believes there are so many talented players popping up all over the place who have size and strength on their side.
She had some great coaches during her career and appreciates everything done for her, but she can’t help but point out that players are getting an earlier start now, have access to great coaching and don’t have to settle for the scraps when it comes to finding adequate ice-time to run programs and leagues.
It’s only going to get bigger and better and that’s something that’s exciting for a woman who was told she couldn’t play hockey when she was a young girl.
She believes there will be a professional women’s hockey league under the umbrella of the National Hockey League one day. She hinted that there is already work being done behind the scenes to see if it can be brought to fruition and would like to see an Original Six concept just like the NHL had when it started.
“I think if we start small we can really garner some interest,” she said.