The battle for female hockey supremacy has begun as playoffs are underway across the country. Five teams will earn the right to travel to Regina, Sask. in April and join the host Regina Rebels to battle for the 2010 Esso Cup, Canada’s National Female Midget Championship.
Fans of all ages will soon get the opportunity to watch the best Midget AAA female hockey players and teams from across Canada compete at the highest level in Regina’s newest hockey facilities at Evraz Centre.
The Esso Cup is considered the equivalent of the well-known and long-standing TELUS Cup, which is Canada’s National Midget Championship and features the best boys’ Midget AAA teams in the country.
“There is a unique passion for female hockey in Saskatchewan,” said Lynn Tulloch, chair of the 2010 Esso Cup host committee. “Come and watch Canada’s best female hockey players compete for the Esso Cup. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.”
This year marks the second for the Esso Cup – Manitoba’s Westman Wildcats earned the first-ever gold medal in Calgary, Alta. in 2009, defeating the Scarborough Sharks in the final of the five-team tournament.
The event expands this year to six teams, with regional champions from Pacfic (B.C. and Alberta), West (Saskatchewan and Manitoba), Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic (Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) joining the host Rebels.
Tulloch points to Hockey Canada’s dedicated focus on player development and the success of Canada’s National Women’s Team as the main inspirations for the growth in female hockey across the country. She said the enthusiasm for the female game, along with the fan base, increases with each Team Canada victory at international events such as the 4 Nations Cup, IIHF World Women’s Championship and Olympic Winter Games.
“Female hockey continues to be one of the fastest growing sports in Canada,” Tulloch said. “Today’s players benefit from the high performance programs specifically targeted for girls and the Esso Cup allows them to exhibit their exceptional hockey skills on a national level.”
Tulloch added that the Esso Cup and the provincial and regional Midget AAA female leagues provide outstanding opportunities for players to get an education and play hockey at universities in both Canada and the United States. The national championship also attracts coaches and scouts from many high profile university teams who are looking to recruit the next female hockey stars.