For the first time since the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship, Canada’s
National Women’s Team returns to Kamloops this week for a Rivalry Series
matchup against the United States. Not only is the game showcase the best
of women’s hockey on the iceon the ice, but it also gives the City of
Kamloops an opportunity to show how women’s hockey has grown in the
Six years after the United States edged Canada 1-0 in overtime in the gold
medal game, Norm Daley, co-chair of the 2016 women’s worlds, is feeling the
same level of excitement as the world’s best come to the Interior.
“We’re seeing a lot of responses from the young ladies in hockey who are
interested in the Rivalry Series,” says Daley, who is also president of the
Western Hockey League’s Kamloops Blazers. “These are the stars that they
look up to and it’s really exciting to see that they have their role models
from Team Canada coming into their community.”
The Rivalry Series game will be the third international hockey event in
Kamloops in the last eight years; in addition to the women’s worlds, the
city was host of the 2014 4 Nations Cup, when Canada claimed its 14th gold
at the tournament that also included the United States, Sweden and Finland.
At every opportunity the Kamloops hockey community has not failed to show
its on-going support for women’s hockey. With a close-to-capacity crowd
expected for the Rivalry Series, to be played at the Sandman Centre, home
of the Blazers, Daley says the interest in the game is clear.
“The community is really talking about how important the games are for
girls and women to see what can be accomplished,” he says. “Once the
tickets were released, they were snapped up immediately and shows that
women’s hockey is very much alive.”
The legacy of the Rivalry Series, 4 Nations Cup and IIHF Women’s World
Championship goes beyond the on-ice product itself. Over the years, the
events have brought excitement and drawn the attention of young girls to
hockey, boosting registration in the city.
Nathan Bosa, board chair for the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association, recalls
the 2016 women’s worlds, and although it was before his time with the KMHA,
he remembers how impactful it was for young players and fans, like his
daughter, to experience. Over the years, he says the growth and opportunity
for women’s hockey has continued to open doors for players to continue
their playing careers.
“Over the last couple of years, the game has grown and we’ve revamped
things to provide more resources to our leagues,” says Bosa. “Our governing
association, [the Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association], has put
together a clear program to keep the girls playing at a high level and give
them a path forward.
“By running regional teams, we’ve been able to open the borders to have
female players come from Clearwater or Logan Lake and broaden our catchment
for teams. The morale boost these events gives to the home associations is
great, because the momentum of the event will get people thinking about new
ideas to continue growing.”
Like Daley, Bosa has felt a sense of excitement during leading up to the
Rivalry Series. With the opportunity for the community to see Team Canada,
the reigning Olympic and world champions, it’s a huge opportunity to watch
the best in the world.
On Thursday, Bosa and his daughter will be in the Sandman Centre for the
game, but this time, it will be his daughter taking him to see what he
proudly says is “her thing, and she’s very excited to take me with her.”
“It inspires everybody,” Bosa says. “To go and see these players on the
ice, they play with such heart and grit, the younger girls watch this and
really gives them a boost in confidence and shows what’s possible for
“It’s a great opportunity to see what’s possible and what can be