Some great news came out last week regarding Kindersley native, and current captain of the Swift Current AAA Wildcats Caitlyn Perlinger.
Innovation Credit Union Wildcats would like to announce that grade twelve captain, Caitlyn Perlinger, has committed to attend school and play hockey next season at the University of Calgary. pic.twitter.com/OqNOOHWKaB— Swift Current Innovation Credit Union Wildcats (@scaaawildcats) December 16, 2022
It's just another great piece of news for the family, after all three cracked a Team Saskatchewan roster back at the start of the month.
Cobe, Caitlyn, and Cam Perlinger all named to Team Sask for Canada Winter Games
Playing at tournaments like the Canada Winter Games, and committing to play at a higher level such as the University of Calgary are some specific examples of players taking their game up a notch. Higher competition exists in many levels of male hockey, example being a league like the SJHL as many AAA level kids age out into their respective junior teams.
For female's looking at the next level of hockey it is typically a university signing or bust when it comes to their futures, but that is now set to change with the introduction of a brand new U22 hockey league for those players ready to move to the junior ranks, in an opportunity not ever witnessed before in Saskatchewan.
Hockey Saskatchewan’s 2022-25 Strategic Plan was recently released, and the creation of this new junior league aligns with their direction.
The Hockey Saskatchewan Board of Directors made the announcement yesterday, and according to the release this new Under-22 league will be up and running next year and a Hockey Saskatchewan AAA/AA Task Team is working on the process that will be put in place to seek applications from communities to be a part of the inaugural 2023-24 season.
Hockey Saskatchewan General Manager Kelly McClintock said, “Our Task Team is creating the process to recommend to the Board how teams can apply, how teams will be selected and how the league will be administered. It is a great initiative for us.”
A virtual call in September resulted in over a dozen communities showing interest and enthusiastic about putting the idea into motion.
“With Under-13 AA this year within the Saskatchewan Female Hockey League, we've seen that league grow to well over 100 teams. Adding a Junior (U22) option for young ladies is something that's going to be exciting as well."
The West Central region, and Western Prairie Thunder in particular are one of the burgeoning programs to thank for this trend, as there is a good possibility players on those rosters today will end up on a newly minted junior one down the road.
Again according to the release, Membership can expect another announcement regarding this initiative in January 2023, for something that would certainly be an interesting topic around the many areas dominated by young Western Prairie Female Hockey athletes.