Sherwood Park, AB - Final touches are being completed as Sherwood Park, AB prepares to host the 2004 Esso Women's National Hockey Championship. The annual championship, which features 12 players from our National Women's Team competing at the upcoming IIHF World Women's Championship, begins next Wednesday, March 10 with games being played at both Millennium Place and Sherwood Park Arena.
The 2004 Esso Women's National Hockey Championship will be presented by Hockey Canada, Hockey Alberta and by the premier sponsors of Hockey Canada: Imperial Oil - Esso, Bauer NIKE Hockey, RBC Financial Group and TSN/RDS
The gold medal game will be aired on the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada: The Sports Network (TSN) and it's French equivalent, RDS, on Sunday, . "Our team of dedicated volunteers have worked extremely hard to make this the best Esso Women's Nationals," said Elaine Garner, co-chair of the 2004 Host Committee. "We believe that everyone taking part will share some great memories as we ‘bring on the best' of female hockey in Canada."
This year's event will have 10 teams from 9 provinces in 2 pools competing:
Alberta - Calgary Oval X-Treme
British Columbia – Pacific Steelers
Ontario – Toronto Aeros
Host – Edmonton Chimos
Manitoba - University of Winnipeg
Newfoundland & Labrador
This is the first year with a new format for this championship. The teams are seeded into two five team pools based on last year's finish with the top seeded teams in Pool A. In the A pool, the top two teams after their round robin receive a bye to the semi final. The 4th and 5th place teams in the A pool play off in one quarter final, while the 3rd placed team plays the team that finished first in the B Pool in the other quarter final on Friday. The semi finals are on Saturday, March 13, with the winners advancing to the final game to be broadcast live on TSN at 7:30 pm MT Sunday, March 14.
In addition to the championship games, there will be several development activities on Saturday, March 13 at Millennium Place. The first event will be an Esso Fun Day, followed by a Coaching Seminar at the Best Western Hotel Conference Centre and finally a Hockey Skills Camp for Novice and Atom level female players. Championship Sunday, March 14, will feature the "Skate with Champions" from 10am – 11am at Millennium Place. This will provide a chance for young aspiring female hockey players to skate with their role models.
Esso has been involved as the title sponsor of the Women's National Hockey Championship for the past ten years and has been a long-time premier sponsor of Hockey Canada and women's hockey. Karen Fraser, the Marketing Sponsorship Manager for Esso is pleased with the Development programs for grassroots hockey that Esso has been such a big part of, "Through the support of programs such as the Esso Medals and Certificates of Achievement, the Esso Fun Days and the Esso Community Program, Esso along with the involvement of our Esso branded retailers and associates has been committed to supporting the growth and development of hockey in communities all across Canada."
Ticket packages for the 2004 championship are still available. Tournament passes can be purchased for $59.00 for adults and $39.00 for children, students and seniors. Individual tickets for round robin games are $6 for adults and $4 for children, students and seniors. For semi finals and medal games tickets are $10 and $7. There are also minor hockey team packages available. For more information on ticket packages, call TNT Tickets at (780) 426-7653 or toll free at 1-800-TICKET-99. For more details, please visit Hockey Canada's and the Esso Women's National Championship official web site at www.hockeycanada.ca