Diane Cole, left, has been playing hockey since she was 10 and her passion for the game is shared by her daughter Erin. Photo credit: Stephanie Lake Photograph

By Denise Bacon

More and more women are discovering or rediscovering the thrill of playing hockey. Regardless of age or skill level, there is pure joy putting the puck in the net and many of our neighbours enjoy this great sport.

Skating was a regular social outing with friends at Nathan Phillips Square for Stephanie Lake when she was a teenager. Although she was a pretty good skater, she did not try out for her high school hockey team, which she regretted later. Fortunately, at age 40, Stephanie linked up with a coach who was keen to grow women’s hockey. Stephanie says that “learning to play hockey was truly a gift.” She found that there was a pretty big community of adult women with a variety of backgrounds and skills who shared her love of the game. Since that time many years ago, Stephanie is on the ice every week with a women’s group and with her family.

Lynn Porter grew up playing road and backyard ice rink hockey with her brothers and friends. She went from pickup hockey to playing competitively for Woburn Collegiate. Twenty years after graduating from Woburn, with two young children playing hockey, the ice called Lynn back and she has been playing hockey every week ever since. 

Lynn’s love of the game is shared by her daughter, Danielle, who grew up playing competitive hockey for the Scarborough Sharks. Now, Lynn and Danielle are on the ice together every week. It’s a real joy for Lynn to be skating up the ice with her daughter. “I love playing with Danielle,” she said. “I always know that she will pass the puck to keep everyone involved. She loves to set up for someone else to score a goal.”

Likewise, Danielle said, “I look forward to playing hockey with my mom every Friday. It’s a different aspect to our relationship. It’s a lot of fun to be playing casually now with my mom and the other ladies.”

Diane Cole is a renowned and highly respected former coach of girls’ hockey.  Many girls who played highly competitive hockey attribute their success in the game to Diane. Diane has been playing hockey continuously since she was 10 years old, getting her start at one of the first girls’ hockey programs at Clairlea Arena. Her passion for hockey is shared by daughter, Erin, who plays weekly with Diane. “It’s the best,” said Diane. “There’s nothing more fulfilling than playing hockey or any sport and being active with your own children!”

Now, Erin Cole is following in her mom’s footsteps. She and Danielle Porter are running the Little Sharks, a program to introduce little girls to the basics of hockey. They’re building the next generation of adult women hockey players!

The next time you meet a female neighbour, think twice about trying to get past her. She may be a hockey player and she may just deke around you faster than you can say hockey puck!