Leaside Lancerettes 1974-75
Lisa Ritchie; Anne McGrath; Lynn Gilchrist Middle Row: Brian McGroarty; Christina Harron;
Wendy Tunnicliffe; Megan Paul; Lynn Daly; Dave Yarlett;
Barbara Edwards; Nancy Mallabon; Ann Brown; Janice Christensen;
Betty Ann Armstrong; Shirley Sheppard
Photo & Names Thanks to Ann Brown
The Leaside Girls Hockey League was established in 1974, as an offshoot of the older Leaside Hockey League that was essentially a boy’s organization. It was difficult to find an ice hockey league which welcomed girls. The founders felt that there would be many benefits to the creation of a “girls only” league, and correctly observed that there was an increasing demand by girls to play the game. As a result, a fledgling 2 team house league was created, featuring the “Lancerettes” (pictured above) and “Blazerettes”, and the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association (TLGHA) was in flight.
Thanks to the support of the Board of Management of Leaside Gardens, ice time was allocated for the girl’s league, and increased as the League began to grow. Eventually, the number of players, and their skill level increased to the point that a more competitive, “Wildcats” program was warranted. This program allowed more skilled players to compete at a higher level, against teams from other cities. The house league continued and flourished, and both programs are still operated under the same League and Board of Directors. In our house league, all players receive equal ice time, with the emphasis is on friendship, safety, skills development and fun. This is an inclusive, community-oriented program.
Due to the popularity of girls hockey, TLGHA decided to start up and host a house league tournament in 1979. In 1992, TLGHA changed its annual tournament format from house league participation to competitive participation. The tournament is now known as the Leaside Wildcats Annual March Madness Tournament and is held annually at the beginning of March break. The tournament continues to grow with over 100 teams competing in 2011.
Originally, all competitive Wildcats players were also required to play in the house league. Eventually, this became unnecessary, and was declared optional. Today, competitive WIldcats players are ineligible for house league play to make room for the many, many girls who want to play in our house league. In 2008, TLGHA successfully launched a Learn to Play program for five and six year-old girls. With almost 40 teams and over 600 players in the house league, and over 300 players on 22 competitive teams, the growth of the league is now constrained only by the limit on available ice time.
The very significant costs for the teams are paid by a combination of sponsors, fundraising, and the players and their parents. Without the help of our sponsors, the cost of playing hockey would be out of reach for many of our families. We are grateful for their support. The youth house league and competitive programs accept girls from the ages of 5 thru 18. There is also an adult recreational house league for women age 19 and over as well as two competitive adult teams.
The key to the success of the league is the tireless efforts of may volunteers who sacrifice their time to help with the many tasks necessary to run TLGHA’s programs, including 13 Directors of the Board, who are elected annually. All TLGHA’s players are registered members of the Ontario Womens Hockey Association, which is a member partner of the Ontario Hockey Federation and Hockey Canada.