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SPORTS SCENE: Young female players in Colchester County just getting started

Members of Wilson’s Home Heating Cyclones, front row, from left, Shea Kean, Addison Marshall and Maria Bagnell. Back row, Brooklyn Moore, Jessica Porter and Ava Taylor.
Members of Wilson’s Home Heating Cyclones, front row, from left, Shea Kean, Addison Marshall and Maria Bagnell. Back row, Brooklyn Moore, Jessica Porter and Ava Taylor. - Lyle Carter

It is nice to talk to Charlene Bagnell around this time of year. She is a positive figure in support of female hockey. And, with the annual Wilson’s Home Heating Spring Thaw Female Hockey Tournament taking place next week, March 14-17, Bagnell is enthusiastic.

“It provides a great hockey experience for local players as well as visitors from Halifax to Glace Bay,” she said. “Teams will also be here from places like Sussex and Miramichi, N.B.”

The tournament will take place at the West Colchester United Arena in Debert and the sportsplex in Brookfield.

“Besides our five competing Wilson’s Home Heating Cyclones teams, we have 25 teams coming in – making it a 30-team tournament. The tournament is growing; many young players and their families look forward to this tournament.”

Bagnell, the chair of the Cyclones and vice-president of the Fundy Highland Female Hockey Association, feels female

hockey is really expanding and the future looks bright.

“This is my fifth year with the Cyclones and I feel there’s more to hockey than just the sport, it’s also about dynamics and the friendships built in dressing rooms and on the ice. I feel our Wilson’s Cyclones program has an awful lot to offer young female hockey players.”

Bagnell shared the first-hand enjoyment her daughter Brooklyn Bagnell-Lauther, age 10, a centre, experienced in atom ranks. Her older daughter, Katrina, now studying engineering at Acadia University, also enjoyed playing in the Cyclones program. Bagnell also pointed out that Shawn Evans, the coach/general manager of Truro Bearcats, has lent a big hand to female hockey.

“Shawn does an awful lot,” she said. “He coaches our Cyclones atom A team, he serves on our Cyclones organizing committee. I enjoy working closely with Shawn.”

With a Sunday afternoon practice wrapping up, it was time to talk with Cyclones novice and atom players. What follows are wonderful comments and a surprise for an old columnist:

Addison Marshall, 8, Bible Hill: “My favourite position is playing goalie, it’s a lot of fun going down in the butterfly. I enjoy the excitement and making saves. I’m looking forward to playing hockey in the future.”

Shea Kean, 8, Onslow: “I was four when I learned to skate. I took power skating for two years. Shawn (Evans) Troy Fougere and Jamie Barbour coached me. Hockey is fast and sometimes quite competitive.”

Maria Bagnell, 8, Bible Hill: “I enjoy shooting the puck. To get better in hockey, I have to dig for the puck. I also enjoy playing goal; I enjoy stopping the shooters.”

Then, came the surprise, it was a good one! Maria had something in her kitbag she wanted to show me. It was an old-style goaltender mask.

 “This belonged to my great-grandfather, Dutchy Mumford,” she said.

I was thrilled and shared with Maria that Ken “Dutchy” Mumford was a hero of mine when I was a young boy. He was an inspiration. His career saw him play goal for Truro Cubs, Truro Bearcats, North Sydney Franklins, Halifax Crescents and other great teams. I had interviewed Dutchy for my first two columns breaking in with the Truro Daily News nearly 25 years ago.

Wow, Maria had (unexpectedly) just made my day.

Brooklyn Moore, 11, Valley: “I started in hockey when I was four. This is my seventh year. I played on a boys team last year, Truro Red Bearcats, we won the championship. Next weekend we start our playdowns, we hope to do the same with our Cyclones team.”

Ava Taylor, 10, Salmon River: “This is my first year with the Cyclones playing atom. The first goal I scored with the team was in the first game, it happened in the first period and it was the first goal of the game. I find that playing female hockey is helping my confidence. I’ve been making a lot of friends in hockey.”

Jessica Porter, 10, Onslow: “I’m the youngest of five siblings, we all play hockey. My sister Maria is a goalie, my brother Ryan plays for the Bearcats. One of my best experiences in hockey was playing for West Colchester Cobras, a boys team; we won the Home Hardware Friendship Tournament.”

Correction: Last week’s column should have named Kate Adams, Nicole Hart and other teachers for starting the CEC Running Club three years ago. More recently, Hans Budgey became involved.

Lyle Carter’s sports column appears weekly in the Truro News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902 673-2857.

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