Seats at Father David Bauer Olympic Arena were full when Canada’s National Women’s Team took on the Calgary Flames of the Alberta Midget Hockey League on January 29, Canada’s Calgary send-off ahead of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
In the end, the Flames edged Canada 5-4 following a five-round shootout, but the crowd’s enthusiasm never wavered, with loud cheers and claps echoing throughout the rink as the Canadians lifted up their sticks to salute their fans and stepped off the ice following the final game of the NWT Midget Series, and their last game in Calgary before going for gold in Vancouver, B.C.
Many fans decked themselves out in red at Friday evening’s game, both to show their Canadian hockey pride and to stand behind Canadian troops on Red Friday. Sgt. Carolyn Edwards, a military veteran who served in Afghanistan, dropped the puck for the ceremonial face-off and an all-female flag party took part in pre-game ceremonies.
As a special thank-you to the supporters who have come out to watch Team Canada in action, the National Women’s Team gave away the jerseys they have worn all season to 22 lucky fans who won Hockey Canada’s Jerseys Off Their Backs promotion.
“Each and every person who has cheered on Team Canada over the past six months has pushed these players to work harder on the ice, and will ultimately contribute to our country’s success at the Olympics,” says Julie Healy, director of female hockey for Hockey Canada. “Hockey Canada and the National Women’s Team would like to express their sincere gratitude to everyone who has been a part of the NWT Midget Series this season.”
That includes the players, coaches and staff of the Alberta Midget Hockey League, who have helped provide the level of competition necessary to ensure Canada’s National Women’s Team is ready to go by the time it hits the ice in Vancouver.
“The NWT Midget Series was a great way to showcase the strength of the women’s game and gave fans across
Alberta the chance to see some of the top players in the world,” says Melody Davidson, head coach of Canada’s
National Women’s Team. “The 30 games we played against AAA Midget teams also provided us with on-ice
situations that couldn’t be replicated in our practices, and as a result we leave for Vancouver prepared and
Hockey Canada and the National Women’s Team would also to thank the Government of Alberta, webcast provider FASTHockey and all Friends of the National Women’s Team sponsors for their support this season, including the following:
ARC Resources Ltd.; Bon Ton Meat Market; Brad Werenka Hockey Camp; The Calgary Herald; Cal-Crests Ltd.; The Calgary Flames; Calgary’s Horsepower; The Calgary Royals; Calgary Sport Wash Centre; Complete Body Health; Fairborne Energy Ltd.; Hall of Fame Awards & Promotions; Independent Print Inc.; Intergold; Precision Drilling; Pyramid Productions Inc.; Sheraton Suites (Calgary Eau Claire); Spolumbo’s; Travel Masters (Calgary North) and The Wayne Gretzky Foundation.