2004 Esso Women's Nationals


Playing on frozen ponds and rivers, the first documented women's hockey game was held in Barrie, Ontario in 1892, two years before the first Stanley Cup championship. Players of the day wore traditional clothing of long skirts, wool sweaters, gloves and toques.

In the early 1900's, league and exhibition games were played in the Maritimes and Western Canada, but Ontario and Western Quebec emerged as the dominant areas for women's hockey.

The National Women's Ice Hockey Championship is not new to the Canadian Sport scene. During the early 1920's, East versus West championships occurred annually.

The match was usually organized in a community accessible by train for both teams. The teams would book several cars and live in them from the time they left their home town until they returned. The cars would be unhooked form the train and left in the host community during the Women's Championship only to be hooked up again for their return; therefore allowing each team to have their own headquarters.

The games were all played on outdoor ice and records show that during the 1920's over 3,000 spectators watched the event which took place in Fort William.

In most years each province will be represented by their women's Provincial championship team. The 20 game event will produce the national champions, who will be awarded the Abby Hoffman Cup. Abby Hoffman has played a vital role in the development of women's hockey. As a young girl, she was eliminated from a boy's team even though she was one of their top scorers. In the position of Director of Sport Canada, she played an instrumental role in getting the championship to become a reality.

1995 marked the inaugural year of the Esso Women's National Championship. The title sponsor of the national women's championship is not new to the Canadian Hockey Association, but are proud supporters to the game at all levels and in all communities across Canada. Esso is committeed to helping young people get started, learn, enjoy, compete and be rewarded for their dedication to Canada's national game and its ideals of fair play and team spirit.

For more information:
Riley Wiwchar Manager, Events & Marketing | Responsable, événements