Around the globe in 37 girls’ games
by Martin Merk|12 FEB 2020
Fun on ice at the Global Girls’ Game that connected 37 games in 37 countries including this one in Malaysia.
photo: David Jong
For the fifth time the IIHF and its members organized the Global Girls’ Game at 37 venues in 37 countries on all habited continents. In each game one team represented Team Blue, and the other Team White before handing the puck to the next venue.

The blue team succeeded with a combined score of 127-111 but more important than the score was to share the fun on the ice with over 1,000 female players around the world and promote the game for more girls and women to join the coolest sport on earth.

The games were played at different times depending on the situation and with the different time zones it was around 36 hours of hockey almost non-stop.

Click here for the scores and short reports from the venues.

Bad Sachsa in the central Harz mountains in Germany made the start on Saturday morning at 8:00 local time when 20 young girls came together for a female youth hockey game – including a signed game jersey of the German under-18 women’s team waiting for the winner.

Around the same time (but already late afternoon local time) 34 girls played an under-12 game in Kushiro on the Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido with Hina Fukuyama scoring five goals for Team White.

While the games were still on, Agidel Ufa, one of the top teams in Russia’s Women’s Hockey League, organized a master class for young players before playing an exhibition game with mixed teams consisting of Agidel’s pros and local amateur team Rossomakhi (or Wolverine in English). After three games it was a 16-13 lead for Team White but the lead would move over to Team Blue when it continued in several European countries.

Another Asian venue was Petaling Jaya next to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur where 26 juniors and eight senior players had a tight game as part of the global initiative. Poland, Finland and Sweden were the next venues in Europe where a truly international game took place in Jelgava. The game in the Latvian city involved teams from Lithuania and Estonia and ended with a tight 2-1 win for the Lithuanian women representing Team Blue.

33 young girls came together in northern Serbia for a 2-2 tie in Novi Sad before the Czech Republic hosted 50 girls from 6 to 12 years from across the country as part of the Global Girls’ Game in Ceska Lipa. For some it was the first game at a full-size rink.

The next games included countries like Norway, Estonia, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Latvia but also smaller programs. Bosnia & Herzegovina joined the Global Girls’ Game with 20 players in Sarajevo and Luxembourg, which launched women’s hockey in last year’s Global Girls’ Game, was back with 22 players taking part at the match-up in Kockelscheuer.

Saturday ended further west. 32 top prospects were invited to Sheffield for the Global Girls’ Game in Great Britain while Hockey Canada convened 40 under-15 players from all provinces and territories. It was a weekend of activities focusing on empowerment and team-building in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and then of course the session as part of the Global Girls’ Game. At the end of the day Anaheim hosted two girls’ teams from California as well as a panel discussion on women’s hockey.

Australia kicked off Sunday’s games in Melbourne followed by Cape Town in South Africa before the puck was dropped northwards in Southern Europe with many female players on the ice in Granada (Spain), Istanbul (Turkey) and Miercurea Ciuc (Romania).

Iceland hosted a game with 38 players from the age of 5 to 30 in Reykjavik with the country’s First Lady, Canada-born Eliza Reid, performing the ceremonial puck drop. Then it was time for the games in Sursee (Switzerland) and Zagreb (Croatia) where altogether 47 players took part in different women’s hockey initiatives.

Garges-les-Gonesse hosted the event in France while Brovary saw the Ukrainian women’s national team play an internal game in preparation for the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division II Group B in Iceland.

In Buenos Aires the girls escaped the summer sun for some fun on ice and to bring Team White three goals closer. It was one of two events in Latin America with Mexico also hosting an event in San Jeronimo. Another one in Brazil had to be cancelled because the new national ice sports venue was still in its final stages of construction but may see some small-ice hockey in the future. Due to the storm in Western Europe during the weekend, also a game in Belgium was cancelled.

That doesn’t mean there were no firsts. The Global Girls’ Game continued in Kuwait City and in Graz, Austria before ending in Skopje on Sunday evening in what became the first girls’ hockey game in North Macedonia. The first attempt on Saturday had to be cancelled due to the weather conditions since the only rink is outdoor but it worked out for a cross-ice game on Sunday evening as part of the “Never2Late4Hockey” program that is run with schools in Skopje and draw interest from future female and male players alike.

No matter of the age and gender, it’s never too late to join hockey and have fun in a cool team sport. The Global Girls’ Game has shown it one more time as you can see in the impressions below.
2020 Global Girls' Game