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Salmon Arm female hockey takes flight with launch of Silver Hawks

Salmon Arm Minor Hockey to have six female teams this season
Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association players celebrate the unveiling of the Salmon Arm Silver Hawks brand and logo on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023. (Kristal Burgess Photography)

Female hockey is ascending in the Shuswap with the launch of the Salmon Arm Silver Hawks.

Representatives of the Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association (SAMHA), including many of its young hockey players, gathered Tuesday night, Oct. 24, for a celebratory unveiling of the new branding and logo that will represent female hockey in the organization moving forward.

“It is important for the girls to feel like they have a place to belong, that’s identifiable and kind of sets them apart a bit…,” said SAMHA female hockey vice-president Val Kloska. “I’m really happy with the end product. I think the girls have really nailed it and picked something good for themselves.”

Kloska explained the process of creating the Silver Hawks began in the spring, when SAMHA reached out to players and got feedback on what they would like. Thirteen logos were designed and submitted, many by players themselves. An initial vote narrowed the choices down to three, and this past week, the players voted for the winner.

“We had a lot of player submissions and ultimately did a couple of rounds of voting to narrow it down and yeah, everybody was super excited with the final selection,” said Kloska.

Representatives from SASCU also took part in the unveiling. Funding from the organization will go towards buying jerseys displaying the Salmon Arm Silver Hawk’s logo for this season’s six female teams, ranging from U7 to U15.

“Team sports deliver so many benefits to a young person’s well-being,” said Sheri Greeno, SASCU Director of Brand & Community. “Not only is it a source of lifelong friendships, girls in sports also show higher levels of confidence and self-esteem, and even tend to do better in school. SASCU welcomes this opportunity to be part of promoting this to our area’s youth.”

The number of female teams SAMHA has this season is another cause for celebration.

“I’ve been around Salmon Arm Minor Hockey for quite a long time, and when my son was playing… there were no girls teams,” said Kloska. “I played hockey in this area growing up and I remember there being a mixed-age team from Salmon Arm that was a girls team, and when my son played… I think it was 2010/2011, there were no girls teams at that time, and I could count on one hand how many girls were playing hockey in the entire association.

“So for us to not only have one girls team, but to boast six, we actually have the second most female hockey teams in the entire Okanagan area, second only to Kelowna!”

With the introduction of the Silver Hawks, Kloska anticipates interest and participation in female hockey will only grow.

“I think we saw that happening,” said Kloska, noting how in 2020, when her daughter was old enough to start playing hockey, there was a push for SAMHA to form female teams, leading to a U7 and U9.

“They were small teams and as parent groups and… female advocates for female sport, we pushed hard for them not to be mixed in with the boys and split up. We have seen an immense amount of word of mouth growth, just from having girl-only options for hockey, and I can only see it growing exponentially with an official brand and that formal backing of Salmon Arm Minor Hockey to show that hockey is important and meaningful in our community.”

Kloska is already looking forward to the 2024 February Family Day weekend tournament, that will see the Silver Hawks on the ice at Shaw Centre.

“It’s going to be the first time we’ve had multiple female teams hosting a tournament together at Shaw Centre,” said Kloska. “Normally they will have sent us out to Sicamous or somewhere where we can have a smaller tournament. So it will be like a big four-day hockey festival Family Day weekend. It’s super exciting for our association to support!”

Kloska noted the Silver Hawks unveiling coincidentally coincided with the release of the Professional Women’s Hockey League.

“How timely was that!” said Kloska.

Read more: Two Salmon Arm female hockey teams bring home league banners on weekend

Read more: Minor Hockey Feature: Stoked Cubs girls’ hockey program bigger than ever

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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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