History (Brampton Canadettes Girls Hockey Association)

OWHA logo

Our Proud Canadian Womens Hockey History


Since 1963 our logo has changed dramatically as the organization has expanded. However the passion, commitment and dedication for the game of girls hockey have stayed constant and strong.

Few people today may realize that the Brampton Canadettes are now in their 50th year of existence and will be hosting their 47th Annual Easter Tournament expecting over 400 teams to compete during the Easter weekend of 2014.

The fall of 1964 saw the first team entered into the Central Ontario Women’s Hockey League with teams from Caledon East, Malton, Georgetown, Barrie, Richmond Hill and Schomberg. In 1966 the team moved up to “A” competition in the Central Ontario Ladies’ Hockey Association. Additional public exposure brought more inquiries from girls and women wishing to join the Canadettes and in 1967 a second team was added and the Canadettes were now a club.

In 1990, Marg Poste posted an article wondering if the growth would stop. If there would come a time when people would finally refuse to volunteer their time and effort to coach, referee and administer Leagues and Tournaments, as has been the case with many organizations in history, be they men’s or women’s. A solid, proud group have done so for the past 50 years and with continued dedication we can pass a strong legacy and determination to continue to make girls hockey a success in Brampton.

In more recent years, the top level Brampton Canadettes Thunder has been successful in the NWHL (National Womens Hockey League) from 1998-2007 and CWHL (Canadian Womens Hockey League) since 2007.
original_vicky-sunohara-tribute-banner-300x225.jpgTop level players in history that have played on our top-tier, Brampton Thunder include Vicky Sunohara, Jayna Hefford, and Gillian Ferrari (which have played and contributed to Canada’s Gold Medal win on the Canadian National Womens Hockey Team playing in the 2006 Winter Olympics).

Other recent stars include Lori Dupuis (far left) which has played in the 2003 Esso Canadian Women’s Championship and has since returned to help coach one of our top-tier Representative teams.

The Brampton Canadettes Annual Easter Tournament has been active since 1967 becoming the worlds largest tournament and showcase of female hockey. Teams of all ages and skill level compete from all over the world. Including championship games, as many as 600 games are played over less than 4 days with each team participating in no less than 3 games during the span of the tournament.

A History of Girls Hockey

Parts of this text first appeared in a souvenir program in the early 1970’s

For a number of years now there has been a steady increase in a little known area of sport known as Girls’ Hockey. Usually referred to as a sport “not suitable to the gentler sex” hockey continues its popularity for girls who wish to participate in a more active than usual sport.

Girls’ hockey is not new and in face has been played in the Toronto area since 1901 and competitively since 1914 until the present time for the intercollegiate Hartson Trophy. The University of Toronto team was very active during the early years and in 1924 won the championship of the Ontario Ladies Hockey Association.

Originally in keeping with the feminine approach to hockey within the universities, all players wore ankle-length skirts and thick sweaters with matching toques. In 1918 bloomers were allowed and by the 1920’s pullovers, shorts and long striped stockings were accepted. In today’s game participants play with complete hockey equipment mandatory.

By 1963 the game had increased in popularity, to the extent that a number of tournaments were held, the largest being a three-day event in Alliston. Even so we still had our detractors and one, a sports writer, wrote a short story entitled “Does your sweetie have a Charlie Horse?”

The Central Ontario Ladies’ Hockey Association (COLHA) was formed in 1966 and we also had an organization known as the Provincial Women’s Hockey Association (PWHL) Both of these groups promote girls’ hockey and attempt to maintain a contact between the various teams.

The three main tournaments then held annually were the North American Championships at Callaceburg, the Dominion Championships at Brampton and the Provincial Championships at Picton.

Body checking was removed from women’s hockey in 1989-90, but the sport continued to flourish to this day.