Morden set to host 2017 Esso Cup
Manitoba’s Natasha Esquivel named recipient of 2017 Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Award
April 22, 2017

MORDEN, Man. – The community of Morden has banded together with excitement in preparation for the 2017 Esso Cup that begins this Sunday. Community events are planned throughout the week to coincide with the action at the rink, as the city welcomes teams from across the country for Canada’s National Female Midget Championship.

Each regional championship team will go head-to-head alongside the host Pembina Valley Hawks for the national title. Regional champions include the Mid-Isle Wildcats (Atlantic), Harfangs du Triolet (Québec), Durham West Lightning (Ontario), Prince Albert Bears (West), and St. Albert Slash (Pacific).

“The community is ready to watch some awesome hockey and welcome the teams and their families to our community,” said Clare Agnew, co-chair of the 2017 Esso Cup host committee. “The people and businesses of Morden and the Pembina Valley have really come together to host the Esso Cup. It seems that every day there is more excitement. People have been dropping in to see the progress of the arena, signage and stepping up to volunteer.”

The opening ceremonies will kick the tournament off with a bang – complete with a fireworks display on Saturday night. Noon games will feature 250 kids from schools throughout the area taking in the action, while adults can enjoy a beverage at the beer gardens during the evening games. On Wednesday night, the local drive-in movie theatre, Stardust Drive-In, will host a movie night previewing the movie, Breakaway. There will be a tailgate party leading up to the gold-medal game on Saturday, April 29, that the committee encourages all to attend.

Friday morning will feature Team Canada alumnae Sami Jo Small and Jennifer Botterill as guest-speakers at the awards banquet. Small and Botterill played on the national team together from 1997-2007, winning five world championships together and two Olympic gold medals.

Teams will be lacing them up at the Access Event Centre for five days of round-robin play with the goal of playing in the gold-medal game on Saturday, April 29 – broadcast nationally on TSN and RDS.

Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Award

Hockey Canada has worked with long-time partner Esso to ensure the Esso Cup is a celebration of female hockey excellence.

As part of this year’s awards banquet, Winnipeg’s Natasha Esquivel will be honoured with the 2017 Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Award.

The award is bestowed to a nominee who is an active player at any level of the game, who demonstrates leadership and commitment to the game.

Esquivel, captain of the Western Predators of the Manitoba Women’s Junior Hockey League, was named the 2016-17 MWJHL MVP. In her spare time, she helps coach the high school hockey team at Dakota Collegiate in Winnipeg, and organizes local hockey try-outs. Involved in all aspects of the game, Esquivel holds her level-three female officiating certificate from Hockey Manitoba. Throughout the years, she has worked as an on-ice instructor for hockey camps at the Jonathan Toews Community Centre. Recently, Esquivel undertook the role as floor hockey assistant coach for Special Olympics Manitoba. She continues to be involved in the community by volunteering with other Winnipeg organizations, including Ducks Unlimited and Folklorama.

For more information on the 2017 Esso Cup, please visit Hockey Canada, or follow along via social media on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information:

Lisa Dornan
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4557 / 403-510-7046 (mobile)


Esther Madziya
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada


Spencer Sharkey
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4567 / 905-906-5327 (mobile)


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