Female minor hockey players have been gearing up and hitting the ice in Okotoks in increasing numbers over the past several years.

And Okotoks Minor Hockey Association Operations Coordinator Jamie Steer says groundwork by many volunteers has contributed to the success of the female minor hockey program in town today.

"Besides Calgary and Edmonton, we're the biggest female association in the province," Steer points out. "I think there's a lot of pride in that because we've got a lot of people working to build that and we just want to make it better every year."

The female hockey program in Okotoks has evolved to offer teams from the Novice to Midget age divisions and suited to a variety of skill levels. Steer encourages any young girls with an interest in hockey to give the program a try.

"If you're nine or 10 or even 11 and you haven't started hockey yet, we do have a lot of girls that start later than the males," Steer points out. "So, it's never too late. Give it a try, it's a great sport and if you live in Okotoks, you'll probably know someone who plays female hockey, because we have a lot of them."

Steer says that the camaraderie among female players in the program can help contribute to team building, especially at the younger levels.

"You want to build a good team," he explains. "I just think that you see at the younger ages how much fun they have playing together, not saying they don't have fun in the mixed program, I think they do just as well. But when it's an all-female team and they're all dressing in the same room and doing everything together, it makes the game more fun and that's what it should be about."

The spotlight will be on female hockey teams in Okotoks next month as Okotoks Female Hockey Development is gearing up to host the 10th Annual Female Hockey Classic Tournament. The tournament, featuring teams from Novice to Midget age levels, will take place in November with games played at local arenas.

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