Among many other changes, the jersey colours will be the most visible, as the girls hockey organization has launched a partnership with Wilsons Fuel.
The girls will take to the ice next season with five teams decked out in new jerseys and a sponsorship to the tune of $10,000 from the Truro-based fuel company.
“We thought it was a great idea,” sales manager Doug MacInnes said of the deal. “It’s a growing sport, there’s no two ways about it. We were on board right from the get-go. It all came together pretty quickly.”
Also moving quickly was the change to female minor hockey all across Nova Scotia for the upcoming season. Last season, groups like the Cyclones operated under local minor hockey associations. Now, female hockey in the province will be governed separately. All players in the province signed up under a central registry during the summer and were dispersed to appropriate teams based on their hometown and age group. Six zones were established across the province, with house level teams playing within their zone and rep teams playing across all zones.
For the Cyclones, the changes brought a pair of big differences. First, a new committee was established separate of the local minor hockey associations formerly associated with the female program. Secondly, the catchment areas for players expanded to include outer areas such as Tatamagouche, Pugwash, Parrsboro and Springhill.
Charlene Bagnell, vice president of the new committee, said the changes will help continue to grow the game and bring in more new faces. Bringing in the outer communities also helps for girls who have no choice but to play with the boys.
“We want to grow it so girls have the chance to play together right from the time they are five or six until they are 18,” she said. “Most of the committee right now are parents with daughters who play, but we all see the bigger picture.”
MacInnes said he was excited to get involved with a sport that’s bringing more business to local rinks and counteracting the loss of revenue from declining numbers in boys hockey.
“This is really the only hockey we see that’s growing on a regular basis,” he said. “What we’re hoping to see is that this will also help out Brookfield, Debert and Tatamagouche in gaining some ice times there. Everybody will benefit by this, not just the RECC.”
In the meantime, the five-year sponsorship includes money for new uniforms, as well as afterschool programs and on-ice training sessions.
“Right now it’s a five-year deal, but we hope to see it last forever,” he said.
The Colchester Cyclones will play in the Fundy/Highland zone this season, which includes Cape Breton West, Antigonish County, Pictou County, Cumberland County and Colchester County. Each local rink will share ice times, with every third midget home game played in Parrsboro.