By Emily Quelch,
Victoria Racquet Club goalies, Lauren Coppinger and Lily Chang, are considered by many peers to be two of the strongest goaltenders in U15 island hockey. What sets them apart further is that they are a rare female goalie duo, backstopping an all boys team at the Victoria Racquet Club this season. Notably, this marks the inaugural occasion in the over 60 year history of the Victoria Racquet Club where a Bantam team boasts two female goalies. While there is a robust female hockey program in Victoria,both girls prefer to compete and excel with the boys.
Head coach John Bentham provides insight into the significance of the rare goalie pair for the team. “Having two female goalies on our U15 hockey team brings a special dynamic to our game. They both exhibit remarkable talent, work ethic, and determination.” Bentham adds, “Both goalies are well respected by their teammates and opponents. They motivate the entire team to strive for excellence and show strength as our last line of defense.”
Lessons learned in minor hockey help build the foundation of lifelong friendships. The
camaraderie between these two goalkeepers, however, is even greater, in part due to
the shared experience of defending the net. Both girls have proven themselves in both
club hockey and off the ice. Lauren balances her goaltending with her other passion, rugby, where she and the James Bay Rugby Association recently went undefeated to take gold in the BC Rugby Kamloops 7s. Lauren is also an avid softball player in the roles of short-stop and first base. Lauren is one of the most well-rounded goalkeepers – male or female. When you pair that with her ability to make abrupt, balanced transitions, her mental toughness,
and her leadership, she becomes a brick wall.
Meanwhile, Lily is known for her diverse athleticism. She is a dynamic force both on and off the ice, with softball being her other sport of choice, playing in the positions of short-stop and catcher. The proper footwork, positioning, and anticipation required for fielding balls also help her in hockey. Lily possesses an incredible shot-stopping ability and fast reflexes. She has a strong presence amongst her teammates.
The girls participate in goalie-specific drills that work on movement, decision making, precision, skating, and edge work. Additionally, they train with their team in four practices a week and regular dryland sessions. The VRC U15T1 team is immensely proud of their goalkeeping excellence, and can’t wait to see this talented goalie twosome bring their individual strengths to this year’s season.