Canada News

Get the latest new in Candada


A ‘decade of excellence’: Edmonton women’s hockey team inducted into Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame

The Edmonton Chimos Hockey Club joined the ranks of Alberta’s most esteemed hockey players and teams Sunday.

The 1983-93 Edmonton Chimos Senior Women’s AAA team was inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame at a gala in Canmore, Alta., on July 16. 

The Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame described the 1983-93 period for the team as a “decade of excellence where the Chimos showed their dominance but also their leadership in the growth of women’s hockey.”

The Edmonton Chimos team was one of the seven members of the 2023 induction class, along with John Utendale: the first Black hockey player to sign an NHL contract.

Deanna Miyauchi, a veteran of the Edmonton Chimos who played with the team for six years between 1983 and 1993, said that she was honoured to help establish more recognition for women in Alberta’s hockey history.

A group of women pose for a portrait with two men seated in front.
Various members of the Edmonton Chimos team who participated between 1983 and 1993 met at the 2023 Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame Gala in Canmore, Alta., on July 16, 2023. (Submitted by Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame)

The Chimos hockey club was established in 1973. It was the first women’s hockey team to represent Alberta at a national championship and was also the longest-running senior women’s AAA hockey program in the province. 

Between 1983 and 1993, the Chimos won every provincial championship they could compete in and three Abby Hoffman Cup national women’s championships.

“The body of work, when you look at it over that decade, is pretty remarkable,” said Mel Davidson, a member of the induction committee for the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame. “They all just came together, and they were one of the most successful teams in our province, men or women.”

Davidson said that another achievement of the Edmonton Chimos is that they laid the groundwork for women’s hockey in Alberta at a time when it barely existed.

Miyauchi remembers experiencing some hostility from the Edmonton hockey community when she first began playing with the Chimos.

However, she said a significant characteristic that defined the Chimos was their willingness to disregard anything or anyone that deterred the team from playing the sport.

‘Hostile stares’

“I was part of the group that remembers not being entirely accepted into arenas at the very beginning and having to go in through the back door or having to endure hostile stares as we walked in with our hockey bags,” Miyauchi said.

It was even difficult for the Edmonton Chimos to find arenas to play at in Edmonton, Miyauchi added.

“We weren’t entirely supported in the city in terms of being provided with ice time. So for many, many years, our home ice was in places like Duffield, New Sarepta, and Calmar.”

Davidson said that it was in these small towns and hamlets around Edmonton that the Chimos found popularity and support.

“They’d be able to go out into small towns, where really, at that time, women playing hockey was a huge novelty, and they’d pack those rinks,” said Davidson

Miyauchi said that she believes that the existence of the Edmonton Chimos, and their ability to overcome barriers and stigma to participate in the sport, acted as a “catalyst for a lot of other women’s hockey teams to start up.”

“The thing that was the trademark characteristic of the team was to work hard, tirelessly, and just persevere and ignore anybody who thought we ought not to be doing what we were doing and just play,” said Miyauchi.

“The fact that the Chimos were out there and doing it gave a lot of people the confidence, the desire, and the determination to do it because the Chimos had to overcome the odds and that made people believe they could too in their own communities.”

View original article here Source