It’s history in the making for the North Saanich-based Peninsula Panthers junior “B” ice hockey team as their first female player hits the ice ahead of the home opener.
Jaelyn Davis, 16, is tying up her laces to face off against the visiting Westshore Wolves during an exhibition game at Panorama Recreation Centre this Friday, Sept. 2.
It’s a late birthday present for Davis, a goaltender who will be in a backup role “but play quite a number of minutes in the game,” according to a Thursday news release from the team.
Peninsula Panthers general manager Pete Zubersky said he was out watching a group of Peninsula Minor Hockey Association (PMHA) goaltenders this week when Davis caught his eye.
“We had five of our guys shooting pucks for the evaluation session and she was not afraid of the shots and that is the most important thing,” Zubersky said.
“She battled,” he recalled.
“I asked her out to practice (Thursday) evening…” Zubersky said, noting that when he told Davis he wanted her to be in the lineup, she “lit up” and appeared “shocked, nervous and excited all at the same time.”
The Peninsula Panthers are Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) champions and look to promote local players from the PMHA “as much as possible,” according to the release.
Davis’ inaugural game will see a 7:30 p.m. puck drop, with Zubersky adding: “I am looking forward to seeing her compete!”
Here we go! @ppanthersvijhl welcome in @WestshoreWolves in just a few hours for the final Exhibition Tilt before Home Opener next Friday night. Puck drops at 7:30 pm. If you have not seen it, short but interesting article up now at https://t.co/xTgrkXBr56 on tonight's line-up.
— Peninsula Panthers (@ppanthersvijhl) September 2, 2022
Find the Panthers’ full game schedule here.