Calgary Inferno partners with Girls Hockey Calgary Fostering hockey role models
In Oct. 2016, the Calgary Inferno partnered with Girls Hockey Calgary (GHC) to create the Jr. Inferno program.
The Inferno approached Girls Hockey Calgary in 2016 with the idea of a partnership. John MacDonald, VP of marketing and communications of Girls Hockey Calgary, said in a recent interview that the idea was brewing in early 2016.
MacDonald joined the board in May 2016 and GHC pursued the partnership with the CWHL and, former Inferno General Manager, Jeff Stevenson. MacDonald said they started to really get things done once Kristen Hagg joined as the new General Manager in 2016.
“The actual partnership itself is still developing in terms of what we provide to GHC and what they provide to us,” said Hagg.
Hagg gave credit to Stevenson for the idea of rebranding to the Jr. Inferno, calling it his “baby.” It rose from conversations he had with the GHC board.
“Basically what it is, is a complete rebranding of Girls Hockey Calgary. We were an organization of very robust growing, in fact, we are the fastest growing hockey association in Calgary,” said MacDonald
During the rebranding, GHC purchased all new jerseys with the Jr. Inferno logo on the front.
“They’ve gone over really well. The girls love them and they’re very distinctive,” said MacDonald.
The partnership between GHC and the Inferno has come a long way. MacDonald said it has developed into something great because they co-promote one another.
“All these girls out on the ice playing hockey, having fun and that’s the big thing about it. Our girls, they just have a great time out on the ice,” said MacDonald.
The Calgary Inferno players make appearances at practices and events to mentor the Jr. Inferno players. GHC has 41 teams and the Calgary Inferno has 24 players so they get out to as many as they can.
MacDonald has two daughters who play in Girls Hockey Calgary.
“Both my daughters are pretty amazed when they see a female professional hockey player come out on the ice. It’s inspiring to watch them because they just look up to these girls so much. It’s not dad barking at them saying do this and do that. These are elite female hockey players,” said Macdonald.
Hagg said in terms of the one-on-one level, the feedback has been outstanding after players come by, or the Jr. Inferno skate during the intermission at Inferno games.
“[The parents] think it is so great for their kids to have an opportunity to meet these role models and have that one-on-one contact,” said Hagg.
Samantha Holmes-Domagala, coach of the Girls Hockey Calgary Jr. Inferno Timbits North team, said having role models in the community that are accessible is extremely important for the sport.
The children aren’t the only ones who get a lot out of these experiences, the Inferno players do as well.
“I played hockey for a lot of years and one of my favourite parts was when I could go into the community and give back,” said Holmes-Domagala.
“Once they go and get involved with the process they really embrace it because they can see first hand the impact that they’re having and the type of reaction that they get from the kids when they are there,” said Hagg.
The age group of the children determines whether they need a mentor or just someone to encourage them.
“All of our players have been that person at that point, so it is pretty easy for them to understand the significance of having role models in place.”