WATCH: Parents and players upset by Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association motion that would force girls to play on all-female teams. Tess van Straaten reports.
Twelve -year-old Sam Kingcott has been playing hockey since she was four-years-old.
“I love hockey so much,” the Sooke Minor Hockey player says. “I’ve played it since I was little and love being on the ice.”
For all of that time, the left-winger has played on boys’ teams but that could change if a new rule goes through forcing girls on Vancouver Island to play on all-female teams.
“It’s ridiculous,” Kingcott said. “I don’t see why people have to force girls to play on girls teams. I don’t want to be told where I have to play.”
The motion, which would take effect in the 2018/19 season for all 17 minor hockey associations on Vancouver Island, will be voted on at the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association (VIAHA) annual general meeting this weekend.
Officials say it’s being brought forward because they’re trying to ice more girls teams.
“We’re turning away girls every year because there’s not enough players,” says VIAHA president Jim Humphrey. “They don’t want to play co-ed hockey and if we only have four or five of them, then there’s no place to play.”
The motion does allow for girls to also play on a boys team but the girl’s team would take priority for practices and competitions. Parents say forcing them to play on a gender-specific team is wrong.
“I think this whole segregation of females onto a separate team is taking away her human rights,” Kingcott’s mom, Laura, said. “It has been fought in court in Canada and the girls won.”
BC Hockey, the organization responsible for governing all amateur hockey in the province, says the proposed policy isn’t ideal.
Officials are hoping the motion will be withdrawn and they’ve sent a letter to the VIAHA but its president says he doesn’t see the issue.
“I’m not sure where we would be violating anybody’s human rights because the females at the end of the day are still going to be allowed to make the decision themselves whether they want to play co-ed hockey,” Humphrey says.
As for Kingcott, she said playing on two teams would be too difficult and she’s hoping the motion is voted down.
“Hockey is all about bringing people together and what they’re doing is separating them and ruining what hockey is all about,” Kingcott said.