Lone female carves up rink in hockey tourney

Lone female carves up rink in hockey tourney

Lisa Berry VanderHeide from Creston wasn't shy about being the only woman in last week's Wine Capital of Canada 55-plus Hockey Tournament in Oliver. (Lyonel Doherty photo)

By Lyonel Doherty

Oliver Chronicle

Being the only woman in the Wine Capital of Canada 55-plus Hockey Tournament in Oliver wasn’t intimidating for Lisa Berry VanderHeide.

Besides, it was International Women’s Day.

The Creston resident was among 76 players in this year’s annual tournament, which started on March 8 in the Oliver Arena.

The tournament, in memory of former players George Taylor and Grant Wheeler, attracted players from around B.C., Alberta, Washington State and as far away as New Mexico.

Players ranged in age from 52 to 88.

Organizer and recreation assistant Kyle Fossett said VanderHeide is the first female player to participate in the tournament.

But she doesn’t think it’s a big deal.

“I’m just another player,” she said in the dressing room with the guys.

VanderHeide said she has always been a hockey fan and began playing in mixed league at age 40.

“I’m not really intimidated. I’ve been playing for over 10 years.”

VanderHeide said the tournament in Oliver is a nice setup, where participants play three games, one each day. Players also take part in local winery, brewery and distillery tours, and a grand banquet.

Referee Jeff Crowley was officiating some games, saying he has to wait another 10 years before he’s entitled to play in the tournament.

Here, Berry scores on Team 3 goalie Scott Usher during warm-up. (Lyonel Doherty photo)