Whether it’s accepting a championship trophy in Peewee or at the national level, hockey players are always
quick to thank their families for all the support and dedication throughout the years.
Coaches, friends and extended family typically come next; it’s not often that sponsors get a shout out,
but as far as female players are concerned, Esso should be near the top of everyone’s thank you lists.
For the past 14 years Esso has played an instrumental role in facilitating the development of female
hockey throughout Canada, so much so that today the company is synonymous with the game at almost every
Esso’s commitment to hockey has been ongoing for more than 70 years, with a link to the female side of the
game dating back to 1995. It was then that Esso joined forces with Hockey Canada to become the title sponsor
of the Esso Women’s National Championship, a senior women’s event that began in 1982.
Esso played a vital role in allowing the championship to grow until its final year in 2008. The company is
now backing the Esso Cup, the National Female Midget Championship that will mirror the TELUS Cup, Canada’s
successful National Midget Championship on the male side of the game.
“We’re really excited about this event and the promise it has,” says Karen Fraser, manager of marketing
sponsorship with Esso.
“On a national level there was a need to focus our energy on developing younger female players and this
event will allow for that.”
Esso is also deeply rooted in female hockey at the grassroots level and has been for the past 11 years
through Esso Fun Days, a program that introduces beginner female hockey players of any age to the sport.
According to Trina Radcliffe, Hockey Canada’s manager of female development, there are more than 30 Esso
Fun Days held across Canada every year, with more than 1,000 girls taking part.
Not everyone who participates in the Fun Days will end up playing hockey, but a number of them do and
without the support of Esso, none of that would be possible.
“A lot of the problems that communities have are a lack of support, a lack of funding and a lack of
advertising,” says Radcliffe. “Putting a name like Esso to a program like the Esso Fun Days allows
communities and the branches themselves to really go out and target the areas that they need to target, which
increases their numbers in female participation.
“The Esso Fun Days give girls the opportunity to really try hockey out to see if they like it, which is
In the same way Esso keeps cars fueled and on the road, the company is allowing female hockey to further
expand throughout the country, something it has been focused on since the beginning.
“If you look back over those last 14 years, there has been some significant growth happening in the
women’s game, not only in participation, but also in terms of some of the development programs that are out
there and certainly it’s great to be a part of that,” says Fraser.
“We take great pride in the fact that we took a leading role as far as lending our support specifically
behind women’s hockey and I think the success speaks for itself.”
The rate at which female hockey has grown over the last decade is unparalleled, which seems fitting seeing
as how the same can be said of Esso’s continued support.