Silver Stick is back this month with a special Canadian Women’s Hockey League game to mark the 20th anniversary of girls’ Silver Stick play.
Sarnia native and professional hockey player Carolyne Prevost will be on the ice Jan. 20 with her team the Toronto Furies, playing against league rivals Montreal Canadiens.
Prevost knows Silver Stick well, having suited up for tournaments with the boys in the early 2000s.
“It’s pretty cool to be part of such a huge tournament… and be one of the only girls to compete on the guys side of it,” said the St. Francis Xavier grad, and now a forward with the Furies.
Prevost, 28, has spent the last six years in the seven-team CWHL, which represents a major advancement in women’s hockey, she said.
“My league didn’t really exist when I was younger, so a lot of girls would quit after university or college because there was no place for them to play.”
Prevost started with the Sarnia Starfires when she was six, known today as the Lady Sting. By the time she was nine, she opted to play with the boys, which improved her game and allowed her to rub shoulders with future NHLers like Steven Stamkos, she said.
“I remember some of the guys sometimes wanting to fight me, because at that age it was a little bit hard for them to see a girl take the puck away from them, skate by them,” she laughed.
“It was fun… my teammates were awesome to support when I needed it, but I was pretty good at that age to defend myself.”
Prevost said the women’s game is vastly improved in coaching and training now. It’s a far cry from when she was younger and parents with varying degrees of hockey expertise volunteered to coach.
She said women’s hockey is catching up with the boys’ game. Her league is growing in size thanks to sponsorships and endorsements through NHL clubs including the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames.
But Prevost said women’s hockey remains unique. It’s non-contact, which she said leaves room for creativity through skating and puck handling.
“You get to appreciate a little bit more of the game aspect, I think.”
The boys’ Silver Stick Finals are scheduled this week, Jan. 12 to 14, and the girls tournament runs Jan. 18 to 21.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Toronto Furies vs. Montreal Canadiens, Canadian Women’s Hockey League game
WHEN: Jan. 20 at 2 p.m.
WHERE: Progressive Auto Sales Arena
TICKETS: $15, available at the gate on game day or via www.store.thecwhl.com. Girls’ tournament participants receive free admission if they wear their team jersey.