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Maple Leafs support women's hockey, other NHL Clubs to follow?


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#1 poetica

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:30 AM

Ran across this great article. Thought others might be interested.

They are some of the best female hockey players Canada has ever produced.

They have won Olympic gold medals, captured world championships and inspired a generation of younger girls of all skill levels to pursue the game.

But when they’re not on the international stage before sellout crowds, many stay on top of their game playing in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

It can be a humbling experience. Though the hockey is as good as they played at Canadian and American colleges, crowds are little more than 100 on average, media coverage is rare and team fundraisers are a requirement.

But that appears set to change as the Toronto Maple Leafs are throwing their support behind the Toronto Furies, one of five teams in the CWHL.

“It’s definitely great to see that the Leafs want to sponsor us and help make girls’ hockey prosper and get better,” said Rebecca Johnston, a 23-year-old forward on the Furies and Canadian national team who won gold at the 2010 Olympics. “It shows that our league is being taken more seriously.”
Under the five-year agreement, which is to be announced Tuesday, the Leafs will invest $30,000 annually toward the Furies’ coaching costs, equipment, uniforms and travel expenses. The NHL team will also offer support via its website, at Leafs home games and on Leafs TV, to help grow girls’ hockey.

“The Maple Leafs consider it a core value to be a leader in the local community and we have an obligation to help influence the game at all levels,” former NHLer Dave Poulin, the Leafs’ vice-president of hockey operations, said in a news release to be sent out Tuesday.

It’s also hoped that with the Leafs backing the Furies, other NHL teams will throw their support behind the league’s four other teams. The Calgary Flames and Team Alberta are expected to announce a similar deal Tuesday.

There’s hope that the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins will soon reach deals with the CWHL teams in their cities. The fifth team, the Brampton Hockey Club, is also hoping to strike an arrangement with an NHL team.

To mark the Furies-Leafs deal, Toronto will host Team Alberta at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday in a game free to the public. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. with an autograph session featuring Leafs alumni Wendel Clark, Gary Leeman and Johnny Bower as well as a number of former women’s national team stars, including Geraldine Heaney and Hall of Famer Angela James.

Eight players on Alberta and the Furies played for Canada at the Four Nations Cup in Finland, where they lost 3-0 to the U.S. in Saturday’s final.

“Fans will be impressed with the quality of the hockey,” said Furies goalie Sami Jo Small, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time world champion. “There’s more than a dozen Olympians on the ice each week.

“Having MLSE and the Leafs involved sends a message we’re here to stay.”

The CWHL, formed in the spring of 2007 following the dissolution of the National Women’s Hockey League, operates on a budget of about $700,000 per season. Players have often come directly from the collegiate ranks.

The women in the league, who are not paid, have their travel and accommodation costs covered but must pay for their meals on road trips.

Last season, the Furies held a poker tournament and silent auction at a downtown Toronto bar to help cover the $15,000 cost of their coaches.

This deal alleviates the need for such events to raise money for hockey operations, giving the women more time to focus on their game and “giving back to the sport’s grassroots” through such things as skills clinics for young girls, said Furies general manager Rebecca Davies, a former player.

“It allows them to focus on what the league is all about and that’s the on-ice product,” said Davies, who played the last two seasons with the Furies following a four-year college career at St. Francis Xavier in Nova Scotia.

Source: http://www.thestar.c...fom-maple-leafs


Hopefully, with the support of NHL teams and increased public awareness, female players can finally get the attention and appreciation they deserve. And the Hockey Hall of Fame can stop pretending that allowing 2 women (out of dozens of deserving female players) to be inducted three years ago was enough recognition for these talented players who play not for money (as they don't even get paid!) but for pure love of the game.
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Thanks for the memories, Luo! :'(

#2 GodzillaDeuce

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:38 AM

they should sell swimsuit calendars. that might raise some money.
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well I'm sorry that gd is soo perfect


#3 goalie13

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:42 AM

As the article speculated, the Flames have announced a similar deal...

http://www.cwhl.ca/v...news/news_59410

I think what they are doing is fantastic. I attended a few Oval Extreme games when I lived in Calgary. I always thought they could benefit from a partnership like this.
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#4 GodzillaDeuce

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:43 AM

also, i'd be willing to watch if they expanded to BC and brought back this team
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well I'm sorry that gd is soo perfect


#5 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:51 AM

Some would say that the Laffs have been playing like women for years, but good on them for supporting the real thing now.
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#6 Shift-4

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:56 AM

also, i'd be willing to watch if they expanded to BC and brought back this team


:lol:


*wonders how you stumbled upon that gem*
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#7 Kevin-B

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:58 AM

Thanks for the article. A few years ago I wouldn't have given it much thought but now being the Father to a six month old baby girl. I like the idea,nice to see some strides made by the Leafs for this cause.
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#8 GodzillaDeuce

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:04 PM

:lol:


*wonders how you stumbled upon that gem*


in the interest of full disclosure (as I'm sure to be lambasted as a nazi), this thread caused me to wiki women's hockey, and after a bit of scrolling down looking at this page there was a picture that kind of catches the eye
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well I'm sorry that gd is soo perfect


#9 LuonGO Canucks Go

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:50 PM

There should be a women team along with every NHL team in at least 10 cities. 7 canadian and 3 in USA and the NHL team should fund those team and get the tax deductions too along with helping hockey. they should play in same rink and on same night if they can and have short season of like 30 games each.
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#10 hockeyville88

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 01:54 PM

Fantastic news for the league. I have also heard from a few people who are involved in pro women's hockey that Boston and Montreal (both of whom have CWHL teams) are looking to strike similar partnerships with the Bruins and Habs respectively.

That leaves Brampton as the only CWHL team who doesn't have a partnering NHL team. As the Canucks are one of the most profitable franchises in the league, and seeing as Vancouver is now part of the women's hockey legacy with Team Canada winning Olympic gold here, I think it would be a really great gesture for the Canucks to step up and offer up some funding for Brampton. It would be a bit different than the other partnerships simply because the two teams are not in close proximity to each other so it's not like Brampton could play games at Rogers Arena, but the involvement would be huge.

Alternately, the Canucks could put in a bid to establish a CWHL team here in Vancouver, which I think would be tremendous. Exposure is key and our province is severely lacking when it comes to exposure to high level women's hockey. The closest thing we have is the UBC Tbirds who aren't exactly dominating the CIS nor do they have any notable names to watch on their roster.

WPS (women's pro soccer) had so many more fans than the CWHL and yet they folded. I was afraid of the same fate for the CWHL. That league goes and suddenly all the progress the sport has made is totally erased. We are back at square one. This support is huge and it'll mean that we actually have a chance to improve the league and the quality of skill that's being put out there.
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#11 poetica

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 02:10 PM

I agree, I'd love to see the Canucks supporting a women's team, though I'd definitely prefer it was a team here we could go and watch play. Still with these sponsorship deals being so cheap for the NHL teams but potentially meaning so much for the women's teams, there's absolutely no reason any women's team should not get an NHL sponsor, regardless of location.

Supporting women's hockey could easily be a part of the NHL's program to support grass roots hockey. The idea behind supporting grass roots hockey isn't to create more NHL players, it's to create new NHL fans and getting more people involved with the sport (as a player, coach, parent or fan) can only help in that cause, especially in the US.
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Thanks for the memories, Luo! :'(

#12 goalie13

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:41 PM

As great as this is for Canadian Women's hockey, I would love if they could also extend some help (or expertise) to overseas teams. One of the biggest problems in women's hockey is the talent gap between nations. In order for both Canadian and American women's hockey to grow, there needs to be more competition on the international stage.
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#13 jatylo

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 06:58 PM

Good for the Leafs, even though i feel women's hockey isnt even close to the men's. Womens hockey is Midget AAA comparable, please don't take it the wrong way (I played a few exhibition games against these female leagues and it is normally a difference of 1 or 2 goals) . With this support more women will watch the games and will get the passion for the sport. Hopefully more will pursue a career in hockey, creating higher competition and skill.
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#14 etsen3

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 07:04 PM

Good for the Leafs, even though i feel women's hockey isnt even close to the men's. Womens hockey is Midget AAA comparable, please don't take it the wrong way (I played a few exhibition games against these female leagues and it is normally a difference of 1 or 2 goals) . With this support more women will watch the games and will get the passion for the sport. Hopefully more will pursue a career in hockey, creating higher competition and skill.


Still better than the Blue Jackets.
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#15 hockeyville88

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 08:49 PM

The calibre of play will increase as the generation of players gets deeper. In the same way that Gretzky was better than Howe and Crosby is better than Gretzky, we will see the same progression for women's hockey. We already are. The likes of Tessa Bonhomme, Marie Philip Poulin, and the Lamoureux twins are in far better shape and have far superior skills to the players of the past.

One thing I really liked was the fact that people who own season tickets to the Flames, Hitmen, Roughnecks, or Stampeders will be given free access to watch Calgary CWHL home games. So essentially it's a good quality of hockey and a great way to kill time and support the passionate athletes on most weekends in Calgary. It's a way to get people into the arena and it'll generate some interest and support from locals.

Goodness knows Flames fans deserve some decent quality hockey ;)
.
.
.
See now I feel bad taking a jab at the Flames because they're doing such a good thing by supporting the CWHL...argh damn!
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#16 goalie13

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:18 PM

See now I feel bad taking a jab at the Flames because they're doing such a good thing by supporting the CWHL...argh damn!


I have friends that are Flames fans. They would prefer if we keep taking jabs at each other. What good is having a rivalry if we start being nice to each other? ::D
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#17 Fincup13

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:53 PM

The calibre of play will increase as the generation of players gets deeper. In the same way that Gretzky was better than Howe and Crosby is better than Gretzky, we will see the same progression for women's hockey. We already are. The likes of Tessa Bonhomme, Marie Philip Poulin, and the Lamoureux twins are in far better shape and have far superior skills to the players of the past.


I don't know. This Toronto team from 1918 looks pretty intense.

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#18 poetica

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:32 AM

:lol: That is an awesome picture!
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Thanks for the memories, Luo! :'(

#19 WHL rocks

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:39 AM

No one watches women's hockey, only time any one did was during the Olympics. Like the article states barely 100 ppl go to games and I bet most of them are family and friends of the players and coaches. I wouldn't go if the tickets were free. I think this a waste of money.

The leafs should spend the $30k per year on a better cause and so should the other teams with similar plans. Perhaps help wounded war vets or add to the help they provide to needy or sick children.
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#20 poetica

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:37 AM

Just because people aren't watching now doesn't mean they shouldn't be or wouldn't in the future, especially if they continue to develop talent and raise the level of the game. Even just advertising alone to let people know they are there might help improve attendance. After all, growing viewership out of people who don't care is the NHL's main mission these days. Why should women's hockey be any different?

Wait, don't bother answering that, because you were obviously just trolling this thread.
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Thanks for the memories, Luo! :'(

#21 hockeyville88

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:21 PM

^ well said

I don't understand why there is such a double standard when it comes to men's sports and women's sports. There were so many leagues that failed prior to the NHL (http://en.wikipedia....key_Association) and now even the NHL is failing in a colossal way. Experiencing challenges along the way doesn't mean we shouldn't support the effort and the vision for the future.

If for nothing else, we should support the cause because those players care as deeply for the game of hockey as anyone in the NHL, maybe even more:
  • The players of this league do not get paid. They work, go to school, and then play games on weekends.
  • The league can't afford plane tickets so most of the teams have to bus to games. A 1 hour plane ride turns into a 7 hour commute by bus.
  • The league has no money to pay its coaches so they have fundraisers to raise the money.
  • Even though they have no money they run a fundraiser every year with proceeds going to breast cancer research. Last year 1100 fans showed up and they raised $15,000
  • After every game the players come back out onto the ice to hang out with the fans. They sign autographs and chat until every fan is satisfied.
Some NHL players don't even have the decency to return the high fives they are being offered as they skate off the ice. Is the women's game anywhere near the men's game in terms of quality? No. Can it get there? Yes. Do they love it equally? Absolutely.
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#22 hockeyville88

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:28 PM

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Ten reasons to follow the CWHL
http://bleacherrepor...follow-the-cwhl
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#23 SterlingArcher

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 03:17 PM

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#24 oldnews

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:40 PM

I thought it was an embarrassment to Canada when the women's National team could scarcely afford a full-time coach despite multiple world championships and Olympic gold. National team players have to work at hardware stores and sacrifice a lot to play for their country (ie Therese Brisson was a Kinesiology prof at U of NB and had to give up her position to prepare for and play in the Olympics).

Nice gesture - but really, $30 k is relatively nothing - Phaneuf makes that much money every period of every game he plays. TMSE makes more than that every minute of every game...
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#25 Jai604

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 05:43 AM

Nice gesture by the Leafs and Flames. $30k is peanuts to an organisation like the Leafs, and it's great that they are giving these women the opportunity to play.

As was mentioned earlier though, women's hockey still needs a major boost in other countries because at the moment it's just Canada vs. the USA every time, and that isn't particularly interesting.

Awareness and promoting the game is a good thing for the young women and girls of this country. Getting more girls on the ice at a young age is a great thing.
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#26 Canuck or Die

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:27 AM

Here's hoping an expansion comes to Vancouver and the Canucks support them. There's no reason Alberta should have a team but not BC.

Also, it would help if women's hockey got more covereage outside of the olympics. That's the only time the entire country gets to watch the women's hockey.
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#27 poetica

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:41 PM

There was a good article in the women's issue The Hockey News recently did that talked about how the IIHF is working to increase participation in women's hockey around the world. According to the article, they're devoting $2.1M to a program they call "Women's Hockey to Sochi 2014 and Beyond" for that purpose.

The article says there are currently 145,000 female players in North America currently but that other countries don't necessarily have to reach those numbers in order to compete if they have the right development and resources with just a few thousand players. The trouble is, some countries barely have a few hundred.

Here are a few direct quotes from the article:
  • The IIHF expanded its inaugural World Girls' Hockey Day last year to World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend. IIHF female hockey manager Tonya Foley, hired after 2010, says non-traditional hockey states such as Argentina, Macau, and Malaysia are among the 28 countries participating in the event this month. It means these countries will find a way to bring girls and hockey together, even if all they have is sticks and balls. The IIHF provides recruitment materials and trains people from a country's hockey federation to run learn-to-play events. "It is always better to teach people within nations how to run programs than to do it for them," Foley says. "For many nations, they simply don't have the staff or experience to create their own programs from scratch, but they are able to take the basic information from the IIHF programs to create something that fits their unique needs."
  • Women's hockey is taking root and growing in some pockets of the world. Turkey, for example, designated one if its five summer development camps for girls. Switzerland hosted the women's world championship for the first time two years ago and won its first medal, a bronze, this year. It's unrealistic, though, to expect the Swiss to beat Canada or the U.S. at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. It takes years to learn the skills, training and nutrition to become an elite team in the world. If the Swiss, Germans or Czechs want to beat the North Americans, their most important players right now are under the age of 10.
  • The established hockey country taking the biggest strides is Finland, with 5,000 girls now playing the game, more than double its numbers from 2006.
Source: "The Fight for Sochi" by Donna Spencer in The Hockey News (Oct 29, 2012 issue)
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Thanks for the memories, Luo! :'(

#28 hockeyville88

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 06:22 PM

^ There is hope and there is potential.

I had the honour of meeting the Mexican National Women's Team at Hayley Wickenheiser's festival today. They were wonderful and classy and passionate. And a terrific hockey team. I mean, one would not expect them to be but they were terrific skaters, their goalie was tremendous, and gosh they were physical! Only lost 3-0 to a team from BC and they played great. They were having a great time and that is what hockey is all about.

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#29 poetica

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 06:30 PM

And just imagine how much better the next generation of players will be when they have these to look up to and learn from!
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#30 poetica

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 05:50 PM

Speaking of WickFest...


HOCKEY: Wickenheiser tournament a hit with Mexican women

Like many a female athlete, Fernanda Chavez gravitated to a sport because her dad played and her brothers were playing and she wanted in on the action, too.

What makes her story unique is that Fernanda Chavez is a hockey player from Mexico City. That's ice hockey – not field hockey, not street hockey, not ball hockey.

Ice hockey in Mexico City? Now that is growing the game.

Chavez, 17, began playing when she was 10. She's now a member of the Mexican women's national team, which is participating in the third annual Hayley Wickenheiser International Women's Hockey Festival at Burnaby 8-Rinks. The Mexicans are one of 62 teams taking part in the Thursday-to-Sunday event.

Chavez responded like a seasoned veteran Saturday when queried about her start in the sport.
“Good question,” she replied in near perfect English. “Well, my dad when he was little, he played in Mexico. Then he teached my brothers and I how to play. My little brother is a goalie for the under-14s and my older brother doesn't play anymore because he is going to university.”

She was a little at a loss for words, however, when asked to describe what specifically she liked about the game.

“Everything,” she said. “It's a sensation... the action... I can't explain. I love checks. I play with boys and I like to be hit and I can hit them. Fighting? No. Just checks.”

Hockey is still in its infancy in Mexico. According to Wickenheiser, there are 22 rinks in the entire country, six of them in Mexico City. Last summer, she touched base with the head of the Mexican Ice Hockey Federation and national team coach Diego Da La Garma during a development camp in Finland.

She told them about her tournament – often referred to as WickFest – and they indicated an interest in participating.

“So they called us and here they are,” Wickenheiser chuckled. “It's crazy. They're really putting a lot of money into hockey in Mexico. It's pretty basic what they need. They're not skilled and I think, for some of them, it's the first time they've even had their skates sharpened properly. So it's a whole other world for them and I'm really happy they came.”

The Mexicans are playing competitively in the midget portion of the tournament but they were also treated to a special practice Saturday morning led by Wickenheiser herself. Fernanda Chavez admitted she didn't know a lot about Wickenheiser when she first heard about her team's trip to Canada. So she did what anyone with a computer would do.

“I searched her on Google and I found her story,” said Chavez. “It's amazing. She's one of the best players in the world.”

Da La Garma, the national women's coach, is an old goalie who has spent time in Ontario playing and working in summer hockey camps. He admitted hockey in Mexico has a long way to go, especially when it comes to facilities.

“The rinks in Mexico City? Honestly? Terrible,” he said. “The ice is, like, pretty bad but we are building two new rinks that will be top class. Actually, we're bringing everything in from Canada, boards, ice maker, everything. But, right now, it's not that good. The boards are not good and most of the rinks are in shopping malls, which doesn't help. We only have three or four that are specific for sports. Hopefully that is going to change pretty soon.”

According to Da La Garma, there is plenty of hockey interest in Mexico even if there are few quality rinks.

“Believe it or not, we are huge hockey fans,” he said. “We probably get four or five NHL games on TV a week so that's not bad at all.”

The Mexicans' appearance at WickFest is another feather in the cap of Wickenheiser, who seems to have no shortage of energy and no lack of ideas.

Now 34, she's still working on her kinesiology undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary, still considering medical school, still playing for the national team and still suiting up for the women Dinos when her schedule permits. She opted to skip the school's weekend series at Saskatchewan to attend WickFest.

“I think, in the greater scheme of things, this is the right thing to do,” she explained. “It's four days out of my life and I feel it's important to be here on site and not just put your name behind something and not show up. It's worked out well. It's a challenge but it also fills me up with energy. It's been kind of everything that I hoped it would be to this point.

“I started out with an idea in mind to build a legacy for women's hockey and do something that's a little different and outside the box,” she added. “It's a hockey tournament but it so much more than that. We're looking to the development of the whole player. This is our third year and it seems to be our best so far.”

Source: http://www.vancouver...5693/story.html
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Go, Canucks, Go!
Every single one of them.

Thanks for the memories, Luo! :'(




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