By Kristen Lipscombe
Hockey Canada honoured coaches past and present at a Team Canada reception Monday evening in Halifax’s World Trade and Convention Centre.
Players, families, friends and organizers of the 2004 IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship assembled to recognize the immeasurable contributions made by the coaching staff of Canada’s National Women’s Team to the growth of the sport in this country.
“We’re going to recognize all the previous coaches that have won past World Championships,” said reception host and TSN personality Dave Randorf.
Rick Polutnik, Les Lawton, Shannon Miller Melody Davidson, Daniele Sauvageau and Karen Hughes received beautifully framed prints of the very place where they inspire and encourage their players – the team dressing room. Former head coach Dave McMaster was represented by his son Scott. McMaster, who led Canada to the very first World Championship in 1990, passed away last year.
Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson presented the bench bosses with their gifts and thanked them for their continued dedication to the sport of hockey.
Nicholson said that it’s the coaches who have the biggest impact on the game. He added that there is no other sporting program in the world that has come close to the success of the Canadian women’s hockey program.
“With all this – thank you,” said Nicholson. “You have been true leaders to the game of hockey and you will continue to be leaders of hockey. From all the players that have put on a Canadian jersey, they want to thank you.”
Nicholson also recognized the President and CEO of Trade Centre Limited - Fred MacGillivary, along with all the volunteers and event staff who have made the 2004 World Women’s Hockey Championship a successful, record-breaking event.
More people than ever before are coming out to the arena this year to enjoy the excitement of international women’s hockey.
“We know you will represent us well,” said Hockey Canada Chair of the Board Allan Matthews to the members of Team Canada in attendance at the reception. “Without a doubt, you will have a gold medal performance that we will all enjoy.”
Matthews thanked Hockey Nova Scotia for its commitment to developing the game in that province. He said many young girls had the opportunity to get out on the ice this week and enjoy the various games, skills clinics and fun days organized in conjunction with the World Women’s Hockey Championship.
“They have the same opportunity as boys now,” commented Matthews. “They can put on a Canadian jersey.”
Team Canada faces-off against their primary rivals, the United States, Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. in Halifax.
“No matter what happens from here on in, you’re already heros,” concluded Randorf.