MISSISSAUGA, ON -- The 18th annual Esso Women's National Hockey Championship is set for Mississauga, ON from March 25-28, with eight provinces competing in the four-day event, the Canadian Hockey Association announced Monday.
The annual Esso Women's Nationals is jointly presented by the Canadian Hockey Association, the Ontario Women's Hockey Association, the Mississauga Girls Hockey League, Esso, Air Canada, and Royal Bank.
Featuring a selection of Canada's best female hockey players, the 1999 Esso Women's Nationals will bring together several members of Canada's National Women's Team, as well as the National Under-22 Women's Team, as well as players selected to represent Canada at the 1999 Women's World Hockey Championship in Espoo, Finland from March 8-14.
"If you want to see the premier players in Canada today, the Esso Women's Nationals gives you that opportunity," said Fran Rider, executive-director of the Ontario Women's Hockey Association, which is staging the 18th annual Esso Women's Nationals. "This event enables female hockey players from across Canada to compete against the best from other provinces and is a stepping stone for many to compete for Canada in major international competitions. We'll see plenty of great talent and highly competitive games."
Peter Wilson, Esso's manager of merchandising and sponsorship, said: "We're very proud to extend our best wishes to all teams, players, coaches, administrators, and volunteers who are working to make this tournament a resounding success and a vital part of Canada's hockey tradition."
Esso contributed significantly to Canada's 1998 Women's Olympic Hockey Team, which won the silver medal at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. Through the sponsorship efforts of Esso, and others, the Women's Olympic Team was able to centralize in Calgary for five-and-a-half months prior to competing in the first-ever women's Olympic hockey tournament.
Two key supporters of female hockey in attendance Monday at a news conference on the Esso Women's Nationals at the Hershey Centre were Mississuaga Mayor Hazel McCallion and Hockey Night in Canada personality Don Cherry, both longtime and fervent supporters of female hockey in Canada.
The 1999 championship will be contested between teams from eight provinces, divided into two groups, as follows: Pool A - Alberta; Quebec; Saskatchewan; PEI; Pool B - Ontario; New Brunswick; British Columbia; Manitoba.
The 1999 Esso Women's Nationals champion will be determined after four days and 20 games of competition at the brand-new, 5,420-seat Hershey Centre in Mississauga.
The 1999 Esso Women's National Championship game will be played at 7:30 p.m. on March 28 and televised live on The Sports Network, and their French counterpart, Le Réseau des Sports.