Barracudas offer girls a chance to try hockey for free

The Meadow Ridge Barracudas are trying to bring more girls into hockey.

The Meadow Ridge Barracudas are trying to bring more girls into hockey.

Right now the organization is a healthy size, with eight teams playing at seven levels, from the five-year-old Tykes to a combination Midget/Juvenile team that will take players as old as 21.

“We’re in build mode,” said president Terry Passley

This Saturday at 7:45 p.m. at the Pitt Meadows Fiat rink the Barracudas will host a Try Hockey for Free session.

The goal is to let girls get out on the ice with a stick and puck, and to introduce them to the coaches and some of the senior players on the Barracudas.

“There’s a lot of young ladies who are nervous about trying hockey for the first time, and this would give them a chance to get out on the ice.”

Although players can start hockey at the Tyke level, at five or six years of age, he said children aged eight, nine and 10 are still at a good age to start hockey.

“They transition very well.”

There will three Try Hockey sessions, with two more to follow on Feb. 8 at 7:45 p.m.and another on March 8 at 7 p.m.

“They can go to one, or attend all three. Come on out and meet the coaches.”

To cut parents a break, the association is offering an introductory rate for new players at the tyke level. Next September, the tykes will pay less than $200. In the past, the cost was $350 for Tyke, ranging up to $725 for the Midget level.

Passley said the executive is just acknowledging that starting a child in hockey is cost prohibitive for some parents.

“It can be expensive to buy all the gear, and then get going.”

The association is also putting a renewed emphasis on skill development. This year, they have one ice slot every Saturday to focus on power skating, stick handling, shooting and other hockey skills. They bring in specialized coaches to offer the more specialized instruction.

“Development ice was something we really needed,” said Passley. “It definitely is making a difference.”

Passley has already brought two sons, now 23 and 25, through minor hockey. Now with a 12-year-old daughter he is enjoying seeing how girls hockey operates.

“With girls it’s a lot of social aspect and socials skills, and it’s about meeting their friends and hanging out with their friends.”