Wild Katz take Kiss My Pass

Friday night is alive and well with women's ball hockey at the old Ag Rec Hall in Chilliwack

The Wild Katz' Crystal Pablo shields the ball from Trisha Roberts of Kiss My Pass in women's Friday night ball hockey at the Ag Rec Hall in Chilliwack.

Can’t skate? No problem. There’s a place for women who love hockey but are vertically challenged when it comes to playing on ice: the Chilliwack Ball Hockey League.

Friday nights, the old Ag Rec Hall on Spadina Avenue is buzzing with four consecutive women’s games on the huge concrete floor. Sunday nights, the men go at it.

Plywood sheets are propped up along the edges and corners to help keep the ball on the playing surface.

Vocal fans take their places in the bleachers or along the east flank. It has the sound and feel of an ice hockey arena — except it’s warm. Long-time fan and former player, Deanna John says, “I haven’t played in seven or eight years, due to an injury, but they want me to come and yell at them.”

She grins.

John was a founding member of the women’s team, which used to be called the Ravens. Now they’re the Wild Katz — a nod to the Katz Reserve on Highway #7, where many of the players have roots.

“We were playing since about 1980 in the old Ag Rec hall in Agassiz,” says John. “Before that, in the tiny hall at Seabird and at Chehalis.

“Carol Peters was on the team and she has two daughters playing now, Amy and Rachel. Rose Peters was on the team and her daughter Christy plays now.”

Other than the goalie, who is fully protected, the women wear minimal safety gear, maybe the odd kneepad or shin pad.

“You can get welts that will last for weeks,” recalls John, grinning. The ball isn’t as hard or heavy as a puck — but some of these women have powerful shots.

Vanessa James, of Dogwood Valley joined her cousins on the team this year, playing defence. She could easily borrow a pair of hockey gloves from her kids or husband but chooses to go the minimalist route.

“I played with lacrosse gloves during my first season,” she says, “but I didn’t get as much wrist movement so I opted to play without. I took a slash to the thumb during the Brigade Days tournament, which only just stopped hurting in the last week or two.

“This is my first season to play defence and it’s a bit intimidating,” says James, “but I like it because I can see the game, as a whole, easier.

“I love hockey,” she adds. “I wish I could play ice hockey but I’m not a good skater, so this is the next best thing. I find myself still thinking of the game as if it was on the ice but it doesn’t quite transfer over.

I try to dump and chase, which doesn’t work as well in ball hockey.

“The ball does sting. I’ve had a couple of ball-sized bruises — but I just see it as part of the game. I’ve heard a few girls say that wearing pants as opposed to shorts helps to take the sting away, but I get too hot with pants on.”

The Wild Katz had a 3-0 win in their season-opener against the Kiss My Pass squad, giving goalie Maggie Peters the shutout. With a tie in their second game, they are undefeated going into their third week.

Just Posted

WATCH: Brother of missing Hope woman makes emotional appeal for more media attention

Next search for Shawnee Inyallie Nov. 18 along Highway 1 towards Boston Bar

HATS invites Hope residents to talk about addiction in the midst of opioid overdose crisis

First talk happening Thursday, Nov. 15 at Blue Moose Coffee House

Country talent Petunia returns to Bozzini’s in Chilliwack Saturday

Petunia, performing Nov. 17, is referred to as ‘The Savior of Country Music’

Chilliwack Cultural Centre seeks artists who work in a large format

Deadline Nov. 22 to submit work for Cultural Centre lobby display

Raise your spirits with the 44th annual Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market

The artsy festive market runs Nov. 16 to 18 at Chilliwack Heritage Park

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Heading soccer balls can cause damage to brain cells: UBC study

Roughly 42 per cent of children in the country play soccer, according to statistics from Heritage Canada

Supreme Court hears case on migrant detainees’ rights to challenge incarceration

Currently, migrants who do not hold Canadian citizenship can only challenge detention through an immigration tribunal or a judicial review.

Canada Post issues new offer to employees as eBay calls on Ottawa to end strikes

Ebay is calling on the federal government to legislate an end to the Canada Post contract dispute, warning that quick action is needed to ensure retailers don’t lose out on critical Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

No G20 member has climate plan strong enough to meet Paris targets: report

Canada’s push to be a world leader in the fight against climate change may be hampered by its distinction for producing the most greenhouse gas emissions per person among the world’s 20 largest economies.

Talent show: B.C. girl, 8, memorizes entire periodic table

Grade 4 student Maya Lakhanpal heads to B.C. talent show finals with unique talent

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

Most Read