2022 23 nwt kamloops crowd

A lasting legacy in Kamloops

More than six years after the hockey world came to Kamloops for the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship, the impact of that event on the women’s game continues to be felt locally

Jonathan Yue
November 17, 2022
“It’s a great opportunity to see what’s possible and what can be accomplished.”

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 community.

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 them.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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