PRINCE GEORGE, BC – Team Red and Team White will take to the ice today in Prince George, as the 2007 National Women’s Team Fall Festival opens in the northern British Columbia city.
Forty of the top female hockey players in Canada are at the Fall Festival, which runs through September 8th and serves as an identification camp for Hockey Canada staff, who will evaluate players for Team Canada at the 2007 4 Nations Cup (November 3-12 in Sweden), January evaluation camp in Calgary and 2008 IIHF World Women’s Championship (April 4-13 in Harbin, China).
Hockey Canada announced on Saturday that Hayley Wickenheiser has been excused from attending the Fall Festival to pursue playing options in Europe. Wickenheiser, who is still eligible to compete for the National Women’s Team during the 2007-08 season, will not be available for interviews at this time.
Among the 40 players who will be at the Fall Festival are 18 members of Canada’s gold-medal winning team at the 2007 IIHF World Women’s Championship. That list of players includes Olympic and world championship gold medalists Charline Labonte (Boisbriand, QC/McGill, CIS), Gillian Ferrarri (Thornhill, ON, Calgary, WWHL), Kelly Bechard (Sedley, SK/Mississauga, NWHL), Jennifer Botterill (Winnipeg, MB/Mississauga, NWHL), Colleen Sostorics (Kennedy, SK/Calgary, WWHL), Gillian Apps (Unionville, ON/Dartmouth College, ECAC), Caroline Ouellette (Montreal, QC/Minnesota, WWHL) and Vicky Sunohara (Scarborough, ON/Brampton, NWHL). There are a number of other Olympic and world champions who are at the Fall Festival.
Canada’s 40 players have been split into two teams – Team Red and Team White. Those teams will be joined by Sweden’s National Women’s Team and the Cariboo Cougars, a boys’ team that plays in the B.C. Major Midget League.
The first ice times of the event are today, with Team Red on the ice at 11:00 a.m., followed by Team White at 1:15 p.m.
All practices are open and are free to the public. Tickets for preliminary-round and bronze medal games are $5 and tickets for the gold medal game are $7. Festival passes also are available for $40 and each pass includes a Hockey Canada pin and commemorative Fall Festival puck. Single-game tickets are available at Studio 2880 in Prince George and at the Prince George Coliseum on game days.
All media enquiries should be directed to Chris Jurewicz, Hockey Canada’s Coordinator of Communications. He is at the Fall Festival and can be reached at (403) 880-5819 or firstname.lastname@example.org.