A New Hockey Path

Seven weeks ago I moved to Ottawa and joined a women’s competitive ball hockey league for the first time. I caught the ball hockey bug last fall when I was asked to sub in a tournament and decided to try it out since I figured it couldn’t be much different than ice hockey.

Well, turns out ball hockey is quite different from ice hockey…from a floating blue line (gets kind of confusing when you play two ball hockey games a week then go play ice hockey and have to switch back to the non floating blue line offside rule), to not being able to glide when you’re tired, to trying to handle a rolling, bouncy ball instead of a puck.

I never thought I’d enjoy a sport more than ice hockey, but it seems I’ve found the one! I am absolutely in love with ball hockey and the amazing cardio workout that it is! I’m dripping with sweat by the time the 2 minute warm up is done.

I’ve also noticed my puck handling skills have gotten a bit better (or maybe I gained more confidence with the puck) after trying to control that orange ball.

The Ottawa Vanier Women’s Ball Hockey League that I am currently playing in is one of the best league’s in Ontario, if not Canada, for competitive ball hockey. More than 1/3 of the 2011 Canadian women’s national ball hockey team was made up of players from the OVWBHL.

From what I’ve learned from other players, this is a scouting year for the national team. The scouts that attend our games choose the Ottawa team that goes to Nationals (which is in Edmonton this year) and while at Nationals the scouts from the Canadian Ball Hockey Association (CBHA) look at players to put on the team that goes to the World Ball Hockey Championships.

Since I can’t see myself making the CWHL, what with them folding one of the teams to make the league even more elite now, and especially not a national ice hockey team, my new goal is to make the Ottawa team that goes to Nationals and one day wear the maple leaf at the World Ball Hockey Championships.

Currently I have five points in seven games, and I’m the second highest goal scorer on my team, but I still have to get better; I am ranked 42 among 229 players in the league.

Knowing this is my first whack at ball hockey, I’m not too concerned with my stats being ‘so low’ as long as I play positioning well, dig hard in the corners and move the ball quickly.

Last week I scored a breakaway goal against the best team in the league, our team’s only goal in a 9-1 loss and I’ve had a high ever since. It was my first time actually scoring on a breakaway in ball hockey, after a failed attempt in each of my previous games.

I’m a really quick runner, but it’s been hard getting used to controlling the ball, so while I’ve been sent off on a breakaway in almost all of our games it was a great feeling to finally score on a break AND against the team that pummeled us…hopefully the scouts were watching!