If all the women that played hockey in Central Alberta had the enthusiasm for the game that Lori Krause does, the Red Deer Bandits wouldn’t have any problems fielding a team.
Krause has been playing with the Bandits since 1990 “or ‘91” outside of the time she took off to have her four children. And although she just turned 43 still loves the game.
“I love the competitiveness and love the friendships and camaraderie,” she said. “And I’m crazy enough to travel.”
At the end of every year she says” “this may be my last game, but then September comes around and I go back. My husband says If I still enjoy it I should continue playing.”
And she certainly isn’t lacking in skills as she helped set up Erin Smith for both Red Deer goals as they dropped a 6-2 decision to the Alberta senior AA champion Edmonton ESP Velocity in the Western Shield bronze medal game at Kin City Arenas Sunday morning.
“That’s the good thing about women’s hockey, you can continue to play, although I’m getting older and a lot of these girls could be my children,” she said with a laugh.
Like the rest of her teammates Krause would like to see members of the RDC Queens, who graduate, join the team.
“As well as players who played junior (Central Alberta Amazons). The girls would love it and we could use more skill. We’re not a team with cliques . . . we just go have fun, skate and play hard.”
The toughest aspect is the travel to Calgary once or twice a week to play in the Southern Alberta League.
“We need to travel to get the competition, but we don’t go when the weather is bad and it’s fun to get a group of girls to go with,” said Krause, who never did play hockey competitively before joining the Bandits.
“I played shinny on the lake (at Sylvan Lake) and played basketball and volleyball in school.”
One area the Bandits need more depth is on defence. But then the RDC Queens have three former forwards on defence as well.
“I guess parents have to start raising defencemen in Central Alberta,” said Krause with a smile.
The Bandits lost 11-1 to the eventual gold medal winning Saskatchewan Wheat Queens Saturday to end pool play. Jodie Schubert scored for the Bandits.
The Wheat Queens downed the Manitoba Herd 5-1 in the final.
In the Senior A division, Kamloops defeated the Assiniboine Community College Cougars of Manitoba 1-0 in the final. The South Fraser TNT of Saskatchewan got past the Grande Prairie Panthers 3-1 in the bronze medal game.