More young girls gave hockey a try than ever before during the free Esso Fun Day 

Lorne Bremner, Cochrane Minor Hockey's female program director, says 31 girls brand new to the sport took to the ice during that portion of their Apr. 9 fun event.

He says that typically translates into more players in the fall.

"That's the way it tends to go," says Bremner. "When we see more girls at Come and Try, we see more registrations.

In all, 100 girls participated in three different sessions. Besides the first-timers, there was also a series of 3-on-3, 4-on-4, and 5-on-5 scrimmages, additional training, a goalie camp, and the high-energy dryland session "Girl Be You" offered by Cailin Morrison.

What truly strikes home is how far the program has come over the years. Melodie Hanratty, a long-time parent committee volunteer, marvels at the culture that's been created.

"It's amazing to see the growth of the program, to see all the parents coming together to make all the girls feel special, and to now have a competitive level as well to meet the needs of all of the kids, and all of their abilities."

"It has been a huge difference for me to watch this year. Almost all of the female coaches and mentors were female. We have some amazing dad coaches as well, but to see that come along is incredible."

She says there's also plenty of support provided by older players, who do everything from helping first-time players suit up to providing support and coaching on the ice.

Bremner says the rebranding to the Jr. Chaos has far surpassed their expectations and is resonating across the community. 

"They want to stay in it, and other girls want to get in it."

The Jr. Chaos program ended the season with a year-end banquet that same evening which attracted upwards of 200 people, says Bremner.

Minor hockey doesn't resume until the fall, but there is summer training available.

This was the first fun day since 2019.