SARNIA, ON – The city of Sarnia, ON is getting ready to welcome some of the best women players from across the country as they get set to host the 2005 Esso Women's National Hockey Championship, March 9th to 13th, with all games being played at the Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre. This year’s Esso Women’s National Championship features six players from Canada’s National Women’s Team that will be competing at the upcoming IIHF World Women’s Championship in April in Sweden.
The 2005 Esso Women's National Hockey Championship will be presented by Hockey Canada, the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association, and by the premier sponsors of Hockey Canada: Imperial Oil - Esso, Bauer NIKE Hockey, RBC Financial Group, TELUS and TSN/RDS.
The official broadcasters of Hockey Canada: The Sports Network (TSN) and their French equivalent, RDS will televise both semi-finals for this year’s tournament, which will be a first for any domestic Canadian Championship. The semi-finals will be played at 10:30am ET and 2:00pm ET on Saturday, March 12. Please check your local listing for details. The Championship game will be televised on Sunday, March 13, game time is 3:00pm ET
"Our team of dedicated volunteers has worked extremely hard to make this an enjoyable experience for everyone involved with the Esso Women’s Nationals," said Fran Rider, Executive Director of the OWHA. "We strongly believe that everyone taking part will share some great memories as Sarnia welcomes some of the best female hockey players in Canada."
This year's event will have 10 teams from 9 provinces in 2 pools competing:
|A POOL||B POOL|
|Alberta||PEI – Prince Edward Island|
|Ontario – Brampton Thunder||Manitoba|
|Quebec – Montreal Axion||New Brunswick|
|British Columbia||Newfoundland & Labrador|
|Host – Toronto Aeros||Nova Scotia|
This is the second year that the championship will use the new format introduced at last year’s Esso Women’s Nationals. 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 finals. 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 1st (for consistency) in the B pool in the other quarter final on Friday. The semi finals are on Saturday, March 12th, with the winners advancing to the final game to be broadcast live on TSN at 3:00 pm MT Sunday, March 13.
In addition to the championship games, there will be several development activities taking place during the week leading up to the Championship weekend. The first event will be a Hockey Canada Skills camp that will be held on Saturday, March 5th, followed by Esso FUN days to be held on Sunday March 6th. On Friday, March 11th, the OWHA and the SSEC will be hosting a Breakfast of Champions on the Championship Weekend which will feature both an Officiating and a Coaching seminar on Saturday, March 12th. Finally, on Sunday, March 13th, fans will get a chance to Skate with the Champions from 9:30am to 11:00 am at the Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre. This program will provide a chance for young aspiring female hockey players to skate with their role models participating in the EWN.
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 of 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 not only supporting the growth and development of hockey, but also the quality of life in communities all across Canada."
Ticket packages for the 2005 Esso Women’s Championship are still available. Tournament passes for all 29 games, including all medal games, can be purchased for $59.00. Individual day passes for round robin games are $12 while semi finals and medal games tickets are $15. Group discounts are available by contacting Paula Haley at 519-541-1000 ext. 104.