Hayley Schaefer playing for the Royals. “When you’re skating down the ice with the puck on your stick it’s such a rush.” (Courtesy of Mark Schaefer)

Trailblazing Peninsula hockey player talks growing up as the only girl on the team

When faced with lack of opportunity for girls, Hayley Schaefer played her way into boys teams

When Hayley Schaefer was two and a half years old she hiked the Diamond head trail in Hawaii, stubbornly refusing any help from her parents. So they weren’t much surprised when her friend Marlene invited her to a Lace Em Up session at the Panorama Ice Rink and she came off the ice saying, “I want to do this!”

Like many girls, Schaefer found limited opportunities on the Island hockey scene so decided to rise to the challenge of playing her way onto boys teams.

ALSO READ: Governing bodies accused of ‘destroying’ girls’ hockey by Island’s top team

Schaefer, who plays centre, said that her skills did the talking and any misgivings from her new team-mates quickly turned to respect.

“Luckily I knew the guys from school so it wasn’t too awkward and the guys accepted me, which was pretty neat,” she says.

She started as the only girl on the Peninsula Eagles boys’ Novice team and played for them through Atom, Peewee and Bantam levels. At Atom level, she also joined a newly formed girls team, which swept almost all the competition giving Schaefer a taste for winning banners and tournaments.

When it was time to join the Bantam division, Schaefer realized she would have to also try out for the rough and tumble boys’ Rep team if she was to continue her development. She was placed on the C Major team before progressing to the Rep B team in her second year. Shaefer says she grew in confidence and, as the only girl, enjoyed winning spots on the teams ahead of other competitive boys.

ALSO READ: North Saanich soccer sensation takes game to next level in Iceland

After playing in hard-hitting Rep boys hockey for two years, she discovered Spring Hockey and was selected for the South Island Royals A team. In her three years with the Royals, the team achieved great runs in the provincial championships, coming away with gold and silver medals. Another successful tournament run was at “WickFest”, winning a silver medal at the Hayley Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival.

Schaefer says she just loves hockey and would play it any time she could, often hitting the ice six times a week.

“I’m a super energetic person, I love skating as it’s an enclosed area to get out all your energy and when you’re skating down the ice with the puck on your stick it’s such a rush,” she says.

While at the Parkland hockey academy, her coach helped her secure a $1,500 bursary from the Sidney Retreads old-timer hockey team in recognition of her commitment to the sport.

ALSO READ: Canada Women’s Rugby 7s Team land at home after series triumph

Schaefer has now aged out of the Royals but leaves behind a legacy for other girls to follow. She hopes that opportunities for girls will increase in the next few years.

“I know there are some girls who don’t feel comfortable playing with the guys, so for their sake it would be super nice to have more options, rather than just the house team and the really competitive team. There should really be an in between for those girls who don’t want to be super super competitive but still want to play up a level.”

For now, Schaefer plans to explore her love of climbing and outdoor pursuits. One thing’s for sure though, she says laughing, hockey will always remain a part of her life.

“I’ll definitely go back to hockey in the future. Drop hockey after this year? No, I don’t think I could ever do that.”



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Middle school students busted for vaping in Oak Bay

Oak Bay Police respond to minors vaping, arson, and transients sleeping in a car

Peninsula Panthers look to claw their way back into the win column

Panthers remain the best team in the league, but the Victoria Cougars are set to pounce

Last call for raffle ticket to win $6,900 necklace with 163 diamonds

Oak Bay contest funds patient care for people and families dealing with cancer

More than 30 cars get tires slashed in Oaklands neighbourhood

VicPD are asking for help from witnesses to the incidents

Working with offenders: a look at Correctional Service Canada

CSC is one of many vendors featured at the upcoming Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

Union says Western Forest Products refuses to budge from ‘unreasonable concessions’

According to a press release, both parties met on Oct. 16, 18, 19, and 20.

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

App designed to help cut waste and grocery bills

Food security advocates say addressing poverty is ultimate key

Report suggests new BC Ferries terminal near YVR

Metro Vancouver currently has two ferry terminals at northern and southern reaches

B.C. scouting group’s tent destroyed by black bear on Thanksgiving

The Richmond-based Sea Dragon Sea Scouts were camping at Mount Seymour Provincial Park

Most Read