If you go to the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard this weekend for the FADOQ’s Québec 50+ Hockey Cup [Coupe du Québec 50+ de hockey FADOQ], look for the forward wearing number 4 for the Girls. Her name: Artemis Erfle. Her age: 59. Her mission: win more recognition for women’s amateur hockey in Canada.
In 2018, Artemis Erfle was the captain of Team Québec when they won the gold medal at the Canada 55+ Games held in Saint John, New Brunswick. Sadly, she won’t have a chance to repeat this success because the Canada Games have no 60+ age category now, a situation she’s hoping will soon be fixed.
“We want a 60+ category for women. Men have several categories, up to 75+. The mission of the Games is to promote people’s spiritual and physical well-being. Having just one age category for women’s hockey runs counter to this mission because it creates an obstacle for potential participants. We want to keep playing hockey. We want to stay active,” said Artemis Erfle.
Ms. Erfle is from a hockey family. A mother of four hockey-playing children, she donned skates for her first competition when she was 39, determined to carry on the family tradition.
“After spending so much time in arenas, I figured I might as well play too!” said Erfle, whose day job is director of a day care centre.
The next Canada 55+ Games are in 2020, in Kamloops, British Columbia. Artemis Erfle is hopeful about her chances of participating. Meanwhile, she has managed to convince five provinces to send teams of women aged 60+ to these Games if a decision is made to create a women’s 60+ category. Because one province can send more than one team, seven teams have already committed to playing in Kamloops if the board of directors grants the request of Artemis Erfle. The number of participating teams will therefore not be a problem.
“The board has to decide after checking whether they have enough money and ice time to create the new category. Our future is in their hands,” explained the 2018 Games gold medal winner.
What will she do if the board votes to refuse her request?
“It will be very frustrating if they don’t create this age category. The sports community must empower women athletes more. We need to have the means to practise our sports. It would be a big mistake if women aged 60 and over could not compete in Kamloops in 2020,” stated Artemis Erfle.
Until then, the forward will be playing with the Girls on April 12-14 in the women’s 50+ category at the FADOQ’s Québec Hockey Cup. If you run into her, don’t hesitate to encourage her for all her efforts to make the sport more inclusive. She needs all the support she can get.