03/23/2012 12:27 EDT | Updated 05/23/2012 05:12 EDT

Girls Barred From Hockey After Playing With Boys


A hockey tournament for girls in eastern Newfoundland has turned into a debate about who is eligible to play after some players were disqualified because they have played on a boys' house league team – rather than girls' house league team.

Five players onthe Conception Bay Renegades — a girls' under-12 team — played on boys' house league teams and were barred from playing by Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador.

When the girls showed up at the tournament on Thursday in Whitbourne anyway, officials told them they couldn't play. When other team members refused to play as well, the team forfeited the opening game.

"We find it's not really fair if only half the team gets to play,” Kaitlyn Sutton, one of the protesting players, told CBC News.

Girls can't play in a regional tournament unless they played on a girls' house league team. If they were on a girls' house league team and a boys' house league team they could play regional tournaments for either gender - if they qualified to play on a regional team.

Clare Howie, another player, said the league should let the players decide whom they play with.

"Some of the adults are ruining it for us kids," Howie said. "They're not the ones who are playing … we're the ones who are playing, but they're ruining it for us."

Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador declined a CBC request for comment.

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