CARLYLE - The Carlyle U18 Wildcats continue to give local female hockey players a chance to play the game they love.
The Wildcats call the Carlyle Sports Arena their home and have attracted players from many towns and villages in the area.
Brian Hagel of Carlyle is their coach, and he is assisted by Jamie Gervais of Redvers. Gervais’ wife Angela is co-manager along with Jennifer Einarson from Arcola. Cadence Chapman of Manor is their assistant coach-trainer.
Hagel’s daughter Kenna played for the Estevan Bearcats and a few years ago they suggested, “Why don’t you form your own female team and base it in Carlyle?” And so he did.
Five years ago, the Wildcats became a team and Hagel has been their head coach ever since. Kenna is now 20 years old and has aged out from the team.
“I coach because I absolutely love the game,” said Hagel. “There is a market for women’s hockey and hopefully Carlyle can form many more youth female teams in different age divisions. Carlyle is central to many and has a fine facility.”
Einarson has two girls playing with the Wildcats. Kasenya is 16 and Gracyn is 14.
“Our girls have been playing hockey since they were four years old. It is refreshing to have a female team playing out of Carlyle instead of having to travel to Estevan or Weyburn. Our family absolutely loves the game, and we really enjoy the friendly competition and sportsmanship. Hockey is just a huge part of our lives, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Carlyle plays in the South Division of the Saskatchewan Female Hockey League. They play 20 regular season games against teams including the Southeast TS&M Gold Wings. Regular practices are held in Carlyle every Tuesday and Wednesday nights. League playoffs start Feb. 23.
The Wildcats have a full roster and are comprised of young female hockey players from 13 to 18 years of age. The girls travel from their homes in Arcola, Carnduff, Corning, Kipling, Lampman, Moosomin, Redvers, Stoughton and White Bear. All of them have played boys’ minor hockey and truly relish the opportunity to play with and against girls.
“We attract players from a vast area in southeast Saskatchewan. It is a massive commitment from the parents and the players as the Wildcats and the league have extensive travel throughout the year. Without this commitment the Wildcats would not exist,” said Hagel.
Last Saturday afternoon, the Wildcats hosted the South East TS&M Goldwings, based in Midale. A good crowd of over 100 was in attendance. At all regular season games, there is free admission with 50/50 tickets sold to offset the cost of officials.
Trailing 5-3 late in the third, the Gold Wings stormed back with three straight goals to make it 6-5 for the visitors. With their goalie pulled, Kasenya Einarson tied the game at 6-6 with 38 seconds to play. Just seconds later, teammate Alexys Roppel of Kipling scored the game-winning marker to make the final 7-6 Wildcats. Roppel had a four-point night with three goals and an assist.
The next game for the Wildcats is in Carlyle on Jan. 21 at 3:15 p.m. against the Southwest Cyclones. That day is Minor Hockey Day in Carlyle.