It’s been an exciting few months for Hockey Club Morzine-Avoriaz (HCMAG), what with the team returning to home turf after a brief merger with Chamonix. But it’s not just the pro team having all the fun, the club also puts a massive amount of effort into its youth teams, and this winter aims to get more women and girls involved by holding regular taster events and training sessions. HCMAG already has the first under-nine girls’ team in France, but it doesn’t want to stop there. The club plans to start a women’s team, too, with regular training sessions throughout the winter. Nicolas Gaillard is one of the club’s coaches, he’s spent years working in the industry and is currently in charge of the under-seven and under-eleven mixed teams, as well as the under-nine girls’ team. We caught up with him to find out more about HCMAG’s drive to get women playing hockey.
Hi Nicolas! So, what are your plans for women’s hockey in Morzine for the winter?
Our plan is to open ice hockey to all women who want to discover our sport – of any age and level. We plan to put on one session per week for the coming winter season.
Why did you decide to start a women’s team?
To show all people that ice hockey is no longer a men’s game. And we already have some young women who are playing with the French national teams (Flavie Gaydon and Clara Rozier).
Who do your girls’ teams play against? Is there a girls’ league in the area?
They will play in boys’ teams during the season and sometimes will play as a girls’ team in tournaments. We are already the U9 French Champions, being the only U9 girls’ team!!! There is no U9 girls’ championship in France and all our girls play in boys teams but I hope that one day things will be different.
What’s the women’s ice hockey scene like right now in France and the rest of the world?
Women’s ice hockey is growing in France because of the French National Team’s results these past few years, they are now reaching the top level in the world. But we are so far away from countries such as the USA , Canada, Finland and even Switzerland.
Are many other clubs in the area doing a similar thing to HCMAG?
Every club is trying to have as many girls as possible! But as I said, we are the first to have an U9 team, and we are close to having an U7 team as well.
What do you think is the main thing stopping women from playing hockey? A lack of opportunity or lack of interest?
The fact that it’s difficult to see women’s hockey on TV or even on the internet. There is a lack of communication, and lack of interest from clubs, but we don’t think that way. We think that the future of our clubs and sport is in women’s hockey development. We have to give all the girls the possibility to try out and I’m sure they will love the sport: its speed, skills and team spirit.
What advice do you have for and women / girls who are thinking about getting into hockey?
Come and try! The whole staff is here to help you to increase your level of skating and stick handling. And have fun!!! Parents, bring your little girls aged from 4 to 11 to discover ice hockey, too. For the youngest we have some FREE try out sessions every Wednesday of September. Contact us for further info!
To find out more about women’s and girls’ ice hockey at HCMAG, get in touch with the club HERE. And keep your eyes peeled for more information about women’s training sessions!