A group of girls is planning a poster protest at the Spud minor hockey tournament today, saying they want to participate too.
“We want girls to be allowed in the Spud again,” said Robyn Gallant, a 12-year-old hockey player from Charlottetown.
They met to make posters Friday night and plan on assembling at MacLauchlan Arena between 11 and noon today.
“Me and the girls from my team and other teams will wear our jerseys and we made signs,” said Gallant.
She said her older sister participated in the Spud but that chance has now been denied to Gallant. She said that if Charlottetown is going to host a hockey event, all parts of Charlottetown hockey should be represented, and girls teams are a big part of hockey now.
Andrew Hall, co-chair of this year's Spud tournament told The Guardian Saturday that the event began as a boys tourney. It expanded to include girl's teams for only two years, back in 2005 or 2006 if he recalls.
One main reason for the switch back to a boys-only format is the organization of the Sweetheart girls-only hockey tournament being hosted next week by the North River minor hockey organization.
“We want girls to be allowed in the Spud again,” - Robyn Gallant
He said off-Island teams can't go to both, so having the Spud open to girls would dilute the turnout for the Sweetheart the next weekend, said Hall.
“We would be effectively competing against them,” said Hall.
Then there is sheer logistics.
“Have 87 teams in Spud now,” said Hall. “To add 40 or 50 teams more, we already don't have enough rinks.”
Expanding operations to include rinks from Kensington to Montague would make the Spud too much to handle, he said.
Organizers have to market tournaments to specific hockey segments, he said.
“We have to decide where to be,” said Hall. “We have always been one of the premier tournaments in Atlantic Canada. There are 16 teams of boys in each division, so that leaves nothing left.”