Saskatoon, SK - Final touches are being completed as the city of Saskatoon, SK prepares to host the 2003 Esso Women's National Hockey Championship. The annual championship, which features some of the best female hockey players in Canada, begins Wednesday with games being played at both Sask Place (Home of the Western Hockey Leagues' Saskatoon Blades) and Schroh Arena.
The 2003 Esso Women's National Hockey Championship will be presented by the Canadian Hockey Association, the Saskatchewan Hockey Association and by the premier sponsors of the CHA: Esso, Bauer NIKE Hockey, McDonalds Restaurants of Canada, RBC Financial Group and TSN/RDS.
The gold medal game will be aired on the official broadcasters of the CHA:The Sports Network (TSN) and its' french equivalent, RDS on Sunday, . For the second consecutive year, WTSN will carry both semi-final games
"Our team of dedicated volunteers have worked extremely hard towards getting this event off the ground," said Dona Dixon, co-chair of the 2003 Host Committee. "We believe that everyone taking part this week will see some great hockey and enjoy their time in Saskatoon."
This year's event will have 10 teams from 9 provinces competing:
British Columbia - Vancouver Griffins Alberta - Calgary Oval X-Treme
Saskatchewan Saskatchewan - Host
Manitoba - University of Winnipeg Ontario - Brampton Thunder
Quebec New Brunswick
Nova Scotia Newfoundland & Labrador
The tournament opens with two pools of teams playing a round-robin with the top three teams in each pool qualifying for the playoff round. The top teams in each pool receive a bye to the semi-finals. The Bronze and Gold medal games are played on the final day of the tournament.
In addition to the championship games, there will be several development activities during the week including an Esso Fun Day, which was held Monday night to kick off the week. The Esso Shooting for Gold Schools Program will see over 3,000 children provided with complimentary tickets to games courtesy of the CHA, Esso and the 2003 Host Committee. The Cheerios Breakfast of Champions (March 13) will have several players from each team attend various schools in the community and will join school kids for breakfast. The two final days will feature a coaching clinic (Saturday) hosted by 2002 Canadian Women's Olympic Team assistant coaches Mel Davidson and Wally Kozak. Championship Sunday will provide a chance for young aspiring female hockey players to skate with their role models in the "Skate with Champions".
Esso has been involved as the title sponsor of the Women's National Hockey Championship for the past seven years and has been a long-time premier sponsor of the CHA and women's hockey in Canada.
Ticket packages for the 2003 championship are still available. Tournament passes can be purchased for $40.00 at the door or fans can save $5.00 by ordering in advance. Day passes for the tournament are also available for $10.00 (Adult) Wednesday to Saturday and for $15.00 (Adult) on Sunday. There are also a couple other ticket packages available, including a Minor Hockey Team Package and Cameco Kids' Night. For more information on ticket packages, call (306) 938-7800 or (800) 970-SEAT or visit www.ticketmaster.ca. All advance ticket purchases can be made using American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard or Visa.