At exactly 10:30 p.m. once a week, you can find the McMaster women’s hockey club happily taking the ice in Wentworth Arenas. The majority of the players have just finished a long day of classes, some even worked, but because of their love for the sport they are present and ready to go.
There are 20 universities that make up Ontario University Athletics, 13 of which have provincial women’s hockey teams. McMaster is not one of them. This is no surprise especially because McMaster’s director of athletics Glen Grunwald has shared that it is not in the plans to bring OUA hockey for either men or women to the school anytime soon.
However, this does not stop the 17 women in Mac’s hockey club from working hard to keep their team afloat. For third-year kinesiology student Laura Gelowitz, her love for hockey makes late night practices and low financial support worth it.
“I play hockey because it relieves stress and it’s a great way to meet people who you end up forming a close bond with,” said Gelowitz. “I have an older brother but never had sisters and I consider these girls like the sisters I never had.”
The team is led by volunteer coach Terry Morgan. Morgan, a barber at Emerson Studios on Emerson Street, volunteers around six to 10 hours a we
ek coaching the girls who compete in the Golden Horseshoe Women’s Hockey League.
The GHWHL is a Senior AA / Senior A competitive women’s hockey league that plays in Hamilton and its surrounding areas. Right now, the Marauders are not where they would like to be in the league, sitting second last in the nine-team league.
“We are not doing as great as we hoped, but our league record does not display how good our team really is and how good we work as a team,” said Gelowitz. “We have a lot of tough competition in this league, but I think everyone is still having a lot of fun which is the most important thing for us.”
With the team being classified as a club they do receive some funding from McMaster athletics department, but with the club’s yearly budget being around $16,000 it unfortunately does little to cover costs. This is one of the main reasons that practice is so late in the evening. Since the ice time is cheaper at night, it is the only time they can afford to practice.
“’It is hard to focus having practice at 10:30 p.m. when everyone is tired and have had a long day of classes,” said fifth-year player Jennifer Collingswood. “If the school could help getting better practice times or a rink on campus that would be great.”
The chance of that coming true any time soon is highly unlikely but does not stop the team from hoping for more support from their fellow students.
“No one really knows too much about the club and what we are,” said Gelowitz. “So it would be nice to get our team some more exposure, because it’s some good hockey and I feel like a lot of people would love to watch it.”
Not only would they like support on the ice but they would love it outside of the rink too. This year, the team held their first annual charity game against the Hamilton police in support of a program within the Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton called “Skate the Dream”. By the end of the event, $1,000 was raised for the program between ticket and raffle sales. Though the event was successful, more backing from the McMaster community in the future is what they would like to see.
With the team’s regular season finale scheduled for Mar. 17, the women still have a few weeks to improve their 2-13-1 record and the McMaster community still has time to show their support. Head over to nearby Wentworth Arenas to see some hard work, entertaining hockey and a whole lot of heart.
Next home games: Feb. 3, Feb. 10, Mar. 3, Mar. 17