SURREY, B.C. – The puck drops Wednesday, November 4 at South Surrey Arena in Surrey, B.C., where eight provincial and regional teams will face-off in the race for gold at the 2009 National Women’s Under-18 Championship.
Ontario Red is chasing its sixth consecutive title at the championship, which has been held seven times previously since 1993. The other seven teams vying for gold this year are Ontario Blue, Alberta, Atlantic, British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and Saskatchewan.
The National Women’s Under-18 Championship brings together all-star teams made up of the best female hockey players born in 1992 or later. The tournament serves as an important platform for Hockey Canada scouts, who use it to help evaluate candidates for the IIHF World Women’s Under-18 Championship, which will be held next April in Chicago, Ill., and other international events.
The National Women’s Under-18 Championship boasts several high-profile alumni, from household names such as Hayley Wickenheiser and Gillian Apps to rising stars such as Marie-Philip Poulin and Brianne Jenner, who are all on the centralized roster for the National Women’s Team and currently training for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C.
“The top young female hockey players from across the country are gathering in Surrey this week for what will be a very competitive tournament,” says Julie Healy, director of female hockey for Hockey Canada. “Twenty-one players taking part in this event were part of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 for a three-game series against the United States this summer in Calgary, and six of them helped Canada bring home silver earlier this year from the IIHF World Women’s Under-18 Championship in Germany.”
“There will probably be some future Olympians playing at this year’s National Women’s Under-18 Championship,” Healy says.
The five-day tournament kicks off with four games Wednesday, including the defending champions Ontario Red taking on Ontario Blue at 5 p.m. PT.
The teams have been split into two pools, with each team to play three preliminary round games. The top two teams from both groups will move on to the semifinals, with the gold medal game set to air on Hockey Canada’s official broadcaster TSN2/RDS on Sunday, November 8. All games, excluding the gold medal game, can be seen live via webcast through hockeycanada.fasthockey.com. Each game is available for $6.95.
A full tournament ticket package featuring all 18 games is available for $80. The evening and weekend package, which includes the 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. games nightly from November 4-6 and all six playoff round games on November 7 and 8, is selling for $60. Single-game tickets cost $5 during the preliminary round and $7 during the playoff round. Call 604-761-0857 to purchase tickets.
Kristen Lipscombe, media coordinator for Hockey Canada, will be on site in Surrey for the tournament. For interview requests, please contact her at 403-826-4819.
For more information on the 2009 National Women’s Under-18 Championship, visit hockeycanada.ca.