OTTAWA, Ont. – The last match-up between Canada and the United States before the 2010 Olympic Winter Games smashed the record for attendance at a women’s hockey game in this country Friday, with 16,347 fans filling SBP Arena in Ottawa to watch the National Women’s Team win 3-2 in a shoot-out.
The previous record was set on at the Canadian Airlines Saddledome in Calgary, Alta., where 15,163 fans watched as the United States defeated Canada 3-1.
“Hockey Country has once again demonstrated its passion for international competition with an unparalleled level of support for Canada’s national teams,” says Cyril Leeder, president of Senators Sports & Entertainment, host of Friday’s game.
“With the aid of fans throughout the National Capital Region, the establishment of a new attendance record is certainly a great send-off for Canada’s women’s team as they prepare for the Vancouver Games.”
“What a great day for women's hockey. It’s a sure sign that the women's game is entertaining and here to stay,” says Julie Healy, Hockey Canada’s director of female hockey. “The support in Ottawa on Friday night was a phenomenal way to cap off what has been an exciting series between the top ranked women's hockey teams in the world.”
Jayna Hefford (Kingston, Ont.) scored the only goal in the shoot-out, an exciting ending to an action-packed game. It was a special night for Hefford, who was honoured during a pre-game ceremony on the ice to celebrate her 200th international game. Hefford reached the milestone on Friday, November 6 when Canada faced the United States at the 2009 4 Nations Cup in Finland.
Sarah Vaillancourt (Sherbrooke, Que.) opened the scoring for Canada in the first period, while Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, Ont.) scored the second marker of the night for the National Women’s Team five minutes into the third period.
This was the final contest of a six-game series between the two teams, leading up to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. In total, Canada has six wins in eight games against the United States during the 2009-10 season.
Canada defeated the United States in all six games of the series, winning 3-1 on October 5 at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, B.C., 5-2 on October 16 at Spokane Arena in Spokane, Wash., 4-2 on December 12 at Magness Arena in Denver, Colo., 6-2 on December 15 at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, Alta. and 2-1 on December 30 in St. Paul, Minn.
Friday’s game also featured a special pre-game presentation to National Women’s Team member Jayna Hefford to celebrate her 200th international game.
Ottawa has hosted several key international women’s hockey games, including the first official IIHF World Women’s Championship in 1990. For more information on Canada’s National Women’s Team, visit www.hockeycanada.ca.