Come one, come all, bring your skates or your shoes, and celebrate the fifth annual World Girls’ Hockey Weekend.
An initiative of the International Ice Hockey Federation, World Girls’ Hockey Weekend is meant to introduce more women and girls to the game, help those
already involved improve their skills and just simply celebrate female hockey. This year’s events will take place Oct. 9 to Oct. 11, coinciding with the
International Day of the Girl (Oct. 11).
“World Girls’ Hockey Weekend brings more awareness that the game is out there and that it’s progressing,” says Joanne Hughes, chair of Hockey Canada’s
Female Council. “It’s important to bring awareness to female hockey. It’s important to increase the interest and to show that it’s such a great sport.”
Hockey fans are encouraged to get involved in any way they like and then register their event at HockeyCanada.ca/WGHW. You don’t have to be a player or
association to do this.
“Anything across the board, if you’re doing it to celebrate the women’s game during that weekend we want to know it’s happening,” says Mandi Duhamel, the
manager of female development for Hockey Canada.
When Duhamel lived in Ottawa she and a group of friends took in a CIS game between the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. A former coach at both
schools, Duhamel made the most of the scheduled match-up falling during World Girls’ Hockey Weekend: everyone who attended the game was encouraged to bring
their old female hockey jerseys and line the arena.
“It was just walls covered in jerseys and you’d walk around and say I played for them too or that’s where I’m from,” she says. “It was a celebration of all
the females along the way and the different areas we had all come from. That was pretty sweet.”
Consider taking a time-out from Thanksgiving weekend to cheer on some student-athletes. CIS games will be played on Oct. 9 and 10 in Oshawa, Guelph,
Kingston, North Bay and Sudbury, Ont., Edmonton and Calgary, Alta., and Regina and Saskatoon, Sask.
Maybe invite your son’s or daughter’s teammates over for dinner (pizza, anyone?) and a show (a replay of the 2010 gold medal game from Vancouver?). Take to
the streets for an informal game of ball hockey. Or take to the ice and re-create iconic goals by the likes of Geraldine Heaney (1990), Jayna Hefford
(2002) and Marie-Philip Poulin (2014).
Whatever you decide to do, whether with two other people or 20, register your details, then share your fun on social media using #WGHWCanada.
You can also contact your provincial branch or local minor hockey association to see what events they have planned, such as Esso Fun Days, coaching or
officiating clinics or bring-a-friend practices.
The amazing thing about World Girls’ Hockey Weekend is how events like these – skills sessions, viewing parties, etc. – are taking place not only in
communities across Canada but also across the globe.
“It connects hockey all around the world because all around the world there are World Girls’ Hockey Weekend events,” says Hughes. “It’s helping grow it in
countries where female hockey isn’t as aware. Two years ago the country of Georgia had 12 girls and they got together and did an event. It’s not just the
game; they’ve been doing events around the world and it shows that we are a global game and that we work together.”
And this year the weekend shows that women’s hockey is also the first Global Game.
Starting at 6 p.m. MT on the Friday night, Oct. 9, in New Zealand, 30 different federations will play one game. The Global Game will make its way through
Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa and finally North America, with the last game taking place in Quebec on Sunday morning, Oct. 11. Girls in Malaysia will be
teammates with players in Latvia; women in South Africa will be cheering on goals by their counterparts in the United Arab Emirates.
Three short years ago the idea of an international game wasn’t feasible. “This is huge for World Girls’ Hockey Weekend,” says Hughes. “That to me is a
major step forward.”
While Hockey Quebec drew the right to play Canada’s part in that game, the Long Game will once again play out in rinks across the country. Players in five
divisions – Atom, Peewee, Bantam, Midget and Senior – in all 13 branches will don either a red or white jersey to play for one team, coast to coast to
For the past two years the game has been a highlight of World Girls’ Hockey Weekend in Canada. The puck drops early in Hockey Newfoundland & Labrador
and the lights won’t be turned out until 8 p.m. PT by B.C. Hockey. “It’s cool to be connected in that way and watch how a game you started in one end of
the country finishes at the other,” says Duhamel.
For more information on World Girls’ Hockey Weekend, visit HockeyCanada.ca/WGHW.