Event benefits extend to communities across British Columbia
CALGARY, Alta. – The excitement and activity in Kamloops, B.C., has been building since Hockey Canada first announced it would be hosting the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship, which opens in just over two weeks.
Fan and community support has been tremendous to-date, and organizers are adding two more opportunities to take in the action. Two exhibition games will be held on Saturday, March 26, including a Canada-Sweden match-up at 6 p.m. at the Sandman Centre, and Switzerland facing off against Russia at McArthur Island Sport & Event Centre at 1 p.m.
What few realize is the activity and excitement extend well beyond Kamloops – something that comes by design rather than by accident.
“A tremendous amount of work and planning goes into bringing an international event such as the Women’s World Championship to a Canadian community. But whether it’s a world championship or one of our national events, Hockey Canada works closely with the host committees to ensure we are positively impacting the greatest number of people as possible,” said Dean McIntosh, senior director of events and properties for Hockey Canada. “In addition to Kamloops, we were able to work with eight other B.C. communities who are directly tied to the delivery of this year’s Women’s World Championship.”
Eight teams will compete in the annual event, with Canada, Finland, Russia, and the United States forming Group A, and the Czech Republic, Japan, Sweden, and Switzerland making up Group B. Seven of those eight teams will hold their pre-competition camp – which includes practices and exhibition games – in cities and towns near Kamloops, including: Penticton (Canada), Richmond (Czech Republic, Finland), Salmon Arm (Finland), Clearwater (Russia), Kelowna (Sweden), and Chilliwack (Switzerland).
Leaving a lasting legacy
Hockey Canada has also worked with B.C. Hockey to deliver programming around the Championship focused on developing and growing the female game.
Kelowna will host a Female Festival March 26-27, consisting of mini games, skills camps, info sessions, and off-ice training, while Vernon and Salmon Arm will each host an Esso Fun Day, aimed at introducing girls and women of all ages to the game, on March 28 and 29 respectively. Salmon Arm will also offer a female officiating seminar on March 29.
On March 30, an off-day at women’s worlds, skills camps that include on- and off-ice components will be held in Kamloops, with female officiating and coaching seminars scheduled for the following evening – including a 6:15 p.m. coaching “Hot Stove” at the Sandman Centre with panelists Tom Renney, Cassie Campbell-Pascal, Danielle Goyette, Cathy Wolfe, and Delaney Collins. Attendance is free, and participants must register through B.C. Hockey.
And finally, 100 Mile House will host a Female Jamboree April 1-2 consisting of team-building, off-ice training, mini games, and a tournament.
“As part of my role with Hockey Canada, I get to travel to communities across the country to help deliver female programs, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard girls and women of all ages tell me it was their exposure to one of our national or international events as a spectator that motivated them to get involved in the game,” said Mandi Duhamel, manager of female development at Hockey Canada. “We are in a unique position to capture the inspiration that our high-performance players on Team Canada generate at events like women’s worlds to demonstrate how fun and accessible hockey is to more Canadian females, and to provide targeted skills-development sessions to those who are involved in hockey.”
The full tournament schedule was released in September.
Canada’s National Women’s Team will open up its Women’s World Championship with a game against its U.S. rivals during prime time on March 28. The team is set to face Russia on March 29, and Finland on March 31 in preliminary-round play. The semifinals will be held April 3, and both the bronze- and gold-medal games will be hosted on April 4 at the Sandman Centre.
Hockey Canada broadcast partners TSN will broadcast 11 tournament games, and RDS will air eight games, including all Team Canada match-ups. Please consult local listings for details.
Since 1990, Canada’s National Women’s Team has won 10 gold medals at the Women’s World Championship – the last being an overtime win against the U.S. in 2012.