Are you a fan of women’s hockey? Well, there is only one place to be in 2006-07.
The two biggest international events on the women’s hockey calendar will take place on Canadian soil this season, beginning with the 2006 4 Nations Cup, which comes to Kitchener, ON from Nov. 5-11, during Hockey Canada Week.
That’s followed by the 2007 IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship, which will be held in Winnipeg and Selkirk, MB from Apr. 3-10.
Canada’s National Women’s Team, in addition to being the two-time defending Olympic champions, are the defending 4 Nations Cup champions, and were silver medalists at the 2005 IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship.
The 4 Nations Cup will feature the top four women’s hockey nations in the world – Canada, the defending world champion USA, Olympic silver medalist Sweden, and Finland – taking part in a round-robin tournament, with two games to be aired on TSN/RDS, Hockey Canada’s official broadcaster, beginning with Canada vs. the USA on November 7. Check your local listings for broadcast times in your area.
The 2007 IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship will feature the four countries taking part in the 4 Nations Cup, along with entries from China, Kazakhstan, Germany, Russia and Switzerland.
For a full schedule and ticket information for both events, check out Hockey Canada’s official Web site at HYPERLINK "http://www.hockeycanada.ca" www.hockeycanada.ca.
This is not the first time international women’s hockey has come to Kitchener: the 1997 IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship and the 2002 4 Nations Cup both took place at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.
In what is hopefully a sign of things to come, the Canadians came out on top of both of those events.
The 2007 IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship marks the fifth time the event has come to Canada, joining Ottawa (1990), Kitchener (1997), Mississauga (2000), and Halifax (2004).
“This will be the biggest and best event ever,” says Polly Craik, chair of the host committee for the world championship. “Our expectation is that we will provide at least $5 million in economic return for the city of Winnipeg and our attendance goal is 100,000. They had 94,000 in Halifax (in 2004) and we have to push on the ticket sales to make sure this beautiful facility is full for all of these games.”
If past experience is any indication, filling Winnipeg’s MTS Centre for Team Canada’s games won’t be much of an issue.
The Canada/USA game held at the MTS Centre on New Year’s Day attracted more than 12,000 fans, many decked out in red and white and waving Canadian flags. The game was one of the best-attended women’s hockey games ever.
“The past international hockey events held in Canada, including a crowd of over 12,000 for a women’s hockey exhibition game sets the bar high for events held in Winnipeg, and Hockey Canada and the rest of the country are lucky that the Worlds are coming to Winnipeg,” said Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson back in January, when he announced the event was coming to Manitoba. “All the right partners are in place to make this the best Women’s World Hockey Championship ever.”