CALGARY, Alta. – In the 25-plus years since the first women’s hockey world championship was held, women’s hockey has exploded, becoming one of the fastest growing sports in the world. In Canada, names like Campbell, Goyette and Hefford are household names and heroes to the nearly 100,000 girls and women who play registered hockey across the country.

This Thanksgiving weekend, Canadians from the Atlantic provinces, northern territories, and the Pacific coast – along with points everywhere in between – are celebrating the rich history and future of women in Canada’s game as part of the fifth annual World Girls’ Hockey Weekend.

“World Girls’ Hockey Weekend really is for everyone – we want current and former players, coaches, and officials who have helped grow women’s hockey to feel celebrated, but we also want to use it to introduce the game to new girls of all ages so they can experience the fun, the comradery, and the great lessons and life skills you develop from playing this great game,” said Mandi Duhamel, manager of female development, Hockey Canada. “This is a global initiative, but Canada has embraced it and made it our own to create local community celebrations to reach as many people as we can.”

Canada’s Long Game

A cornerstone of the Canadian celebration of World Girls’ Hockey Weekend is the Long Game, taking place on Sat., Oct. 10.  Beginning at 9:30 a.m. (local) in Newfoundland and Labrador, and wrapping up at 8 p.m. PT in British Columbia, the Long Game pits Team Red vs. Team White in Atom, Peewee, Bantam, Midget, and Senior games in a cumulative score series of 55 games nationwide.

Host locations continue to be finalized, but confirmed communities include:

  • Botwood and St. John’s, N.L.
  • Stratford, P.E.I.
  • Burtts Corner, N.B.
  • Chester, N.S.
  • Laval and Drummondville, Que.
  • North York, Ont.
  • Saskatoon, Sask.
  • Arviat, Nvt. and Yellowknife, N.W.T.
  • Penticton and Coquitlam, B.C.

Cumulative scores for each of the age divisions will be tracked on the Hockey Canada Long Game web page as well as through social media using the following hashtags: #WGHWCanada and #LongGame.

Taking it global – Verdun, Que. hosts inaugural Global Game

Building on Canada’s success of the Long Game, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) – creators and official caretakers of World Girls’ Hockey Weekend – has worked with Hockey Canada to introduce the all-new Global Girls’ Game for 2015.

Taking place over three days, the Global Girls’ Game will pit Team White vs. Team Blue, with 29 federations over five continents hosting one-hour games, tallying a cumulative score along the way and culminating on Canadian ice at the Auditorium de Verdun in Verdun, Que.

Verdun was selected by Hockey Canada in a random draw, and will see the Peewee AA Richelieu team square off against Lac St-Louis. The official puck drop is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET, following a pre-game event that begins at 12:30 p.m.

“It’s certainly special to be the host location for Canada’s participation in the first-ever Global Girls’ Game, and we have created a program that both honours the game’s participants, and encourages more girls and young women to take up the game by hosting an Esso Fun Day at the conclusion of the game,” said Sylvain B. Lalonde, Hockey Quebec’s general manager. “We encourage all Canadians to follow along at their own community events and online as we shine a spotlight on the fun and positive experiences hockey brings to girls and women across the country, and around the world.”

Participation is open to everyone

Being part of the 2015 World Girls’ Hockey Weekend isn’t limited to the Long Game or the Global Girls’ Game; Hockey Canada encourages everyone to host a local event and is accepting event registration for activities such as:

  • Youth and adult Esso Fun Days;
  • Skills sessions;
  • Coaching and officiating clinics;
  • Girls’ and women’s hockey information sessions;
  • Bring family/friends on-ice sessions;
  • And numerous other events, such as ball hockey games, CIS games, etc.

A list of registered local events is also available on the Hockey Canada website, and is being continually updated.

“By registering your event, you are adding to Canada’s participation in World Girls’ Hockey Weekend, and your event participants qualify to receive a patch commemorating their involvement in celebrating female hockey in Canada,” said Duhamel. “It’s about expressing our love of the game, and our pride in its continued growth with girls across the country.”