Minor Hockey Associations in Strathmore, Chestermere, Indus and Siksika are announcing the inaugural season for the all-female Wheatland Wranglers for 2023/24.

Lisa Hempel-Wurz, director of the Wheatland Wranglers Hockey Association, said it is an exciting opportunity for athletes to have a chance to play at home instead of travelling. 

“Previously, girls have travelled to Okotoks, Calgary, or Airdrie for the opportunity to play on all-female teams, or they would play on local teams alongside the boys,” she said. “It has been in the works for a little while … since October of 2022 and everything has really started to fall into place as of March of this year. I am glad that it is starting to come together.”

Hempel-Wurz added the association has assembled a volunteer board that has been reaching out to similar associations in order to gauge the viability of organizing the team.

She explained there was previously an all-female program locally, though did not specify when or why it dissolved. Now that the new program has been announced, local interest has spiked. 

“It just happened to work out perfectly that it was a perfect storm. Lots of people wanted to come and join,” she said. “Since the announcement, there has been a lot of interest and we have held a few free skates already. We are hoping to give our girls a place to play, which is the biggest thing.”

The Minor Hockey Association is currently looking at the possibility for U9, U11, U13, U15, and U18 teams to begin seasonal operations in Strathmore, and/or Chestermere. 

Interest in the program, according to Hempel-Wurz, is coming in from Strathmore, Wheatland County, and Rocky View County. The draw zone for players will also include communities such as Drumheller, Indus, Siksika, Standard, Bieseker, and Bassano, among others. 

U7 athletes are also planned to be able to register for a Jr. Wranglers, all-female, local-only team as registration permits. 

“It is definitely going to be competitive and we are hoping to get the best out of our female program to be competitive and give them the same edge that the boys and co-eds have,” said Hempel-Wurz. “It would start at the same time that our co-eds and our male programs would be, which would be October, early November for when league play starts. Evaluations and everything should start taking place in early September.”

Registration opens May 15 for the Wheatland Wranglers all-female teams. More information regarding registration is available online.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 11, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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