#WGIHW Tracker
by Martin Merk|16 OCT 2021
Greetings from the dressing room of the World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend event in Poprad, Slovakia.
photo: ZHK Poprad
During the 2021 World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend we follow what's happening in over 30 countries that take part in the weekend-long campaign to bring more women and girls into ice hockey and try out the coolest sport on earth. This story will be updated constantly for several days. Thousands of participants are expected at the events organized on four continents.

Click here for a full list with all events. For more action, follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter and use the hashtag #WGIHW and tag @iihfhockey when posting about the World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend. Organizers can send the Reporting Form and photos to [email protected] as soon as the event is over.

Click here or scroll down for the photo gallery.

Kuwait: Kuwait City

Later in October the Kuwait Winter Games Club had the opportunity to organize a girls’ hockey event at its ice rink in Kuwait City.

90 players of different ages came to the ice rink that was separated into three zones with one zone having 3-on-3 games, the neutral zone was reserved for fun games and the third for skating, passing and shooting exercises.

“They had a lot of fun,” said Meshal Al-Ajmi. It was not easy to organize the event due to Covid-19 but it was worth it as Al-Ajmi can see more girls and their families getting interested in the game.
Girls' hockey training in Kuwait.
photo: Kuwait Winter games Club

China: Beijing

The World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend was celebrated in over 30 countries and for the first time the campaign was also staged in the world’s most populous country, China.

With the anticipation high before the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in the city, the Beijing Hockey Association took care of China’s premiere and 122 young girls from 5 to 14 years of age joined at the Xinghongao Fushi Road ice rink. Many of them shared the moment by having family and friends in attendance.

Read more in our featured story.
Chinese players pose for a photo during the 2021 World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend.
photo: Beijing Hockey Association

Norway: Honefoss

The Ringerike Panthers had a great day with 25 girls and young women from the age of 3 to 19 at the rink in Honefoss.

“A lot of the kids were extremely happy. We could see them go from a bit nervous before we entered the ice, to big smiles showing up during the activities. At the end we turned off the lights and put on a ice disco. This really got the girls going and triggered; dance moves, singing, and a lot of smiles on the ice,” said the hockey academy manager Even Tangen Fosse.

“Club members, especially those who got girls in the club, were happy that the club arranged a girls’ day and had expectations that this will pay off for girls’ hockey.”

The club already has 40 per cent girls in the Learn to Play program and after the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend several girls will be joining – and possibly one or the other brother too.

For the girls it was a big day. Or as one of them said: “It was so fun to do something that I have only seen big guys doing on a television before!”

Norway: Stavanger

Stavanger Hockey welcomed 43 young girls born 2013-2017 for an opportunity to try out ice hockey guided by older girls from the club.

“The feedback was exclusively positive, and some want to continue at the club's skating and hockey school,” Vidar Are-Ekstrom, the administration leader of the club, said of the recruiting event. “Girls’ hockey is already strong in our club. The event helps to confirm this. At the same time, we may be able to bring in some new members.”


Belarus joined the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend with events in four cities and united amateurs and future pro players.

The first event was hosted by the Belarusian Ice Hockey Association and Dynamo Minsk with 30 girls and women who were selected from 200 applicants to get a look behind the scenes of the KHL club at Arena Minsk before going onto the ice themselves with players from the club including one who tried as a goaltender and got Alexei Kolosov as a mentor.

“I tried on the goalie equipment for the first time since I’m not very confident in skating,” said Yulia Kuzmitskaya. “Alexei advised to concentrate exclusively on the puck and never look away until it is out of the goalkeeper’s area. It was hard but I managed to work it out.”

“This is the first time I went out on ice with girls. They are great, they try hard and succeed. It was very unusual to catch their shots after ours. In my opinion, almost all of them scored, I made only some saves,” Kolosov said with a smile. “When I younger, I also was a fan and attended different games as a visitor, I always wanted to feel the atmosphere, to be on ice with players. I'm glad our fans have this opportunity.”

On the second day younger girls got the ice at Minsk Arena with another group of KHL players showing them around and practising with them on the ice.

Shortly before the weekend it was Mother’s Day in Belarus and HK Gomel decided to invite the mothers of youth players to try the sport with their children. At HK Bobruisk female fans had the chance to join the men’s team for a practice with the coaches and some players and celebrate the birthday of player Viktor Ryzhkovich while in Pinsk female students of the Polesski State University were invited on the ice.

Estonia: Tallinn

The Estonian Ice Hockey Association together with the clubs HC Wolferines, HC Grizzlyz, HK Roosa Panter welcomed 50 participants at the Tondiraba Ice Hall in Tallinn of which 20 were new to try ice hockey. The event took place in three groups.

“It was a great opportunity to promote our clubs and find new players. But most important was giving the girls a chance to try ice hockey,” said Kristi Seppa, board member of the Estonian Ice Hockey Association. “There were two girls who loved this event so much, they said they would come to this event every week.”

Bosnia & Herzegovina: Sarajevo

In Bosnia & Herzegovina the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend coincided with the start of a new series of tournaments for female players in the region that saw the home team compete against Croatia and Serbia. For both the Bosnians and the Serbs it’s also a chance to compete in both teams’ preparation for their international debut. Despite the complex history of the region, the passion of these players has no borders.

Click here for our featured story from the event.
The captains of the women’s national teams of Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia. The three countries played a tournament in Sarajevo.

Canada: Iqaluit

High in the north in Canada, the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend reached Iqaluit. The capital of Nunavut with the highest Inuit population in Canada host 35 girls despite challenges. In Nunavut, ice hockey means a lot. Check out our interview with Alexia Cousins of the Iqaluit Amateur Hockey Association.

Greece: Athens

Greece only has two small-size ice rinks since the closure of a full-size one in 2009 and only one women’s team left. But the Flying Chicks Athens keep women’s hockey alive and welcomed newcomers on a Saturday morning session.

Check out our featured story.

Italy: Bolzano

Italy’s World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event took place in Bolzano with 18 girls aged 5-13 who came from different clubs in the South Tyrol region as well as one from Lombardy. It was a chance for them to come together as they normally practise with boys.

The president and the team captain of the Bolzano Eagles welcomed the girls at the city’s Palaonda ice rink and six players of the team accompanied the girls on and off the ice.

After the off-ice start the girls had the ice reserved for 90 minutes where the focus was on skating and skills with the puck with an individual practice for one goalie who attended the session.

“The attendees and their parents were satisfied because there aren’t many chances for young female hockey players to get together. The general suggestion of some girls’ parents was to repeat such events more often during a season,” said Eagles president Manfred Klotz.

For Italy’s top women’s hockey team it was also the opportunity to monitor the talent level of the female players in the region but also to raise awareness for women’s hockey in this hockey-crazy part of the country.

“Our organization is already well known in Italy for being a forerunner in women’s ice hockey but the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend was a great opportunity to boost our fame and to show how many girls are passionate about the best team sport in the world,” Klotz said.

Sweden: Strangnas

Approximately 50 players congregated at the Strängnäs ishall in Vasavallen, Sween for a five-hour event hosted by the local ice hockey club Åker/Strängnäs HC.

Players from the club were joined by walk-in prospect, whi were given equipmend and an introduction to skating techniques, followed by kids' games played on the ice. Everyone was happy with the event, with positive feedback comng from parents and players. A lot of girls mentioned they would like to try playing hockey. The club was pleased with its registred players that took part in the event, stepping up and taking care of the newcomers to the sport, and reported that they would like to make their participation in WGIHW an annual event. 

Switzerland: Neuchâtel

Switzerland's second 2021 World Girls Ice Hockey Weekend event took place in Neuchâtel at Patinoires du Littoral and was organized by the women’s hockey association Neuchâtel Hockey Academy. 

Particpants, who ranged from 5 to 45 yers-old were welcomed and provided with hockey equipment- After some warm-up and skating we did some pass exercises and showed the participants how to handle the puck. At the end of the ice session the clubs organized some small games.

One of the Hockey Academy's players took the opportunity to introduce hockey for the very first time to her 5-year-old daughter! 

Estonia: Tartu

The Estonian Ice Hockey Association joined forces with local hockey club Säde to organize Estonia's WGIHW event, which took place at Astri Arena in Tartu, Estonia's second largest city. 

All participants arrived ready to put on their custom hockey gear thanks to a pre-registration process, while small girls who wanted to join in at the last minute were provided with skates and helmets. The event was hosted at an good venue for attacting attention from passersby, with the ice rink located inside a shopping mall. 

In all over 40 female participants from all age groups took part and were invited everyone to try out hockey for free. A lot of girls came as a result of on-site invitations. 

An ice hockey coach was present for the event who first showed basic skating exercises, then added stick and puck and then some shooting. 

"I think it’s a great way to promote women’s hockey and also local hockey club," said Kristi Seppa, member of the board for the Estonian Ice Hockey Association. "We had five potential women from the event who are considering joining the trainings, so I would say the event was a success."

Sweden: Jonkoping

One of Sweden's hockey hotbeds got in on the WGIHW action, hositng an event for girls born between 2014-2016 in Huqvarna Arena in Jonkoping. 

The girls participating were excited to take part in the main arena for HV71's men's and women's teams. The parents thought it was a great time for their daughters to try ice hockey and a big plus was that the ice session was held in the big arena where both men's and women's teams play their games.

The on-ice session was held together with Swedish National team player Thea Johansson, who sought to inspire and motivate the young girls to continue to play ice hockey. Following a group lunch, information was provided to girls and parents about HV71's growing women's program.

"When we started to join this event 6 years ago with not one girls team (only a senior womens team) we now have 3 girls team in HV71, from ages 5 years old to 15 years old," said Jenni Asserholt, who works in HV71's women's development program. "I think it´s a great possibility to have a day like this for the girls. The sport is growing world wide and by having this event helps recruiting to the sport.

Turkey: Istanbul

It wasn’t big due to Covid-19 restrictions but Turkey had it’s World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event with ten participants organized by Istanbul Paten Sporlari Dernegi. The participant were between 5 and 15 years old.

“We are happy to make it possible that ice hockey meets with the girls, and make them to experience the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend spirit even at micro-level during the pandemic,” said Merve Tunali, the club’s president and coach.

Newcomers and figure skaters came to the Silivrikapi ice rink and learned how the WGIHW is celebrated globally. The new players learned about the basics from current players.

“We think that the WGIHW may have a huge impact in countries like Turkey where hockey is not actually a part of the culture since it enables the people to visualize, see, and experience ice hockey where most of them don’t have this chance most of the time,” Tunali said. “Some people just say that they don’t want ice hockey for their girls – and we think that it is mostly because they don’t know it. When you explain and just simply demonstrate it in such an event the ice breaks in a very easy way.”

And that’s what was done with one or the other parent at Sunday’s event in Istanbul. Also on the ice there were some family bonds as current player Melis (8) was paired together with her younger sister Selen (5).

Norway: Haugesund

The Haugesund IK organized a WGIHW event with 30 persons from 4-year-olds to adults.

After getting helped with the own or borrowed equipment the women and girls from the club helped the newcomers who were divided into different groups according to their experience.

“The reactions from the participants were overall positive. We perceived that the girls and women participating were having fun on the ice. There were also new participants that wanted to come back to the club and start playing ice hockey,” said Tore Lund, board member of the club. “We hope that the impact from the World Girls´ Ice Hockey Weekend event will result in more girls wanting to start playing ice hockey. Our girls’ players in the club are a minor group, and we would love to see this group expand. We also want to expand our women's team, and that is why we also invited women to join the event.”

Slovakia: Michalovce

No less than 104 girls from the age of 4 to 14 came to the event organized by the women’s hockey club of Michalovce.

The program on the ice lasted 75 minutes and included shot on the net, collecting colourful pucks and balls on ice, touch-last, obstacle course, relay and the beginners learned skating with tools. After the event there were gifts such as bracelet, magnets, bags, pucks, juice, bottles and a certificate.

“It was a great event and the girls and parents wished to have more events like this. The girls were happy about the jersey and kept it on for the way home,” said club manager Jozef Kuzma. The goal was to get more girls in the club and some already signed up after the event.

Click here for a featured story on the much increased number of girls' events in Slovakia.

Iceland: Reykjavik

Another World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event in Reykjavik took place on Sunday at Egilsholl organized by the Fjolnir ice hockey club and 40 participants came from 3 to 32 years of age.

During the hour-long ice sessions the girls and women went through four station: skating, falling & stopping, passing and finally playing. After the ice session and the big group photo the girls were offered hot chocolate, home-made crepes and cruller.

“The reactions were overall positive. The girls had a lot of fun. Parents and players were surprised about the turnout. We are hoping more girls will sign up for our girls practice on Sunday and in the future to have a U16 girls’ team,” said girls’ hockey coach Laura-Ann Murphy.

Slovakia: Spisska Nova Ves

Local women’s hockey club HC Osy Spisska Nova Ves welcomed 85 girls from 3 to 14 years of age to their ice rink. After getting some information from coach Barbora Kezmarska they took the ice in different groups at five stations.

The kids and also the parents enjoyed the opportunity after a tough period due to Covid-19.

“We would like to thank all the girls who came to the ice and showed what ice stadium, and hockey should look like. Their main features are smile, joy, laughter, good mood and courage,” Kezmarska said.

“This year’s World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in Slovakia was highly promoted by the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation, which brought large attendances. Hopefully it will bring good results in the number of new players in next years as well as it will bring women’s hockey closer to the general public,” said club manager Tomas Cerny.

Here’s are the impressions from Spisska Nova Ves summarized in 44 seconds:

Slovakia: Kosice

Kosice this year joined the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. HC Kosice and the women’s hockey club Ice Dream invited girls from the area to get to know ice hockey better.

“32 girls accepted the invitation and they enjoyed this day with coaches, hockey players of Ice Dream and former Olympians Barbora Brem, Andrea Koll and young hockey representative Nina Hudak. We believe that they liked it and that they will find their way to ice hockey,” said Eva Molekova of Ice Dreams.

Russia: various

The clubs in Russia’s Women’s Hockey League always try to reach out to the next generation during World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend and this year was no exception. From anniversary celebrations at one of the country’s best-known women’s teams, to a first-time event in Chelyabinsk, which joins the league this season, 2021 was another busy year.

Click here to read our featured story.
SKIF Nizhni Novgorod celebrated its 25-year anniversary with a girls’ hockey tournament during the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend.
photo: Alexander Lobastov

USA: Las Vegas NV

There’s nothing quite like a party in Las Vegas. Just ask the girls who enjoyed the local edition of World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend, organized in partnership with the Vegas Jr. Golden Knights.

The 40 participants, ages 6-12, started off with a street hockey game in front of City National Arena, the practice facility of the Vegas Golden Knights. Next up was an on-ice dance party, where the girls skated around to their favourite songs for an hour with a DJ and light show.

“This event helps build a culture here for girls' hockey,” said coach Sheri Hudspeth, the girls’ hockey program manager for the Jr. Golden Knights. “People walking by saw the event and how many girls we had playing hockey. Some stopped to ask questions about the program.  Visibility will help with registration. The event had a positive impact on our community by offering more opportunities for girls to participate in ice hockey.”

The festivities finished with dinner for all participants at Mackenzie River Pizza inside the arena. The girls cheered for the Golden Knights as they battled the L.A. Kings on TV.

Hudspeth, who played NCAA Division I hockey as a forward with Minnesota State, added: “Exposure is so important to us in a warm-weather state like Nevada where hockey is fairly new.”
Playing street hockey in palm trees captures the spirit of World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in Las Vegas.

Slovakia: Ziar nad Hronom

13 girls came to the Ice Stadium in Ziar nad Hronom and created a good atmosphere from the beginning. The organizers first talked with the girls about hockey, then helped them wear skates and put on helmets. Many activities were planned for them on the ice and at the end the coaches played ice hockey with girls before they got some presents. The club hopes that with this event some of the girls will stay in hockey and join the club.

Sweden: Enkoping

Enkopings HC had a full program for girls during three days as part of the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. On Friday they had free entrance to the game of the men’s senior team before newcomers and members of the girls’ team hit the ice themselves on Saturday.

Seven players from the junior girls’ team (14-18) were coaching the younger players. 35 girls were on the ice for two one-hour sessions with a barbeque break between. Among them were seven beginners from 7 to 14 years of age. Later the younger girls had the chance to watch the season opener of the junior team.

“The event was greatly appreciated by the beginners, as well as the existing players, that got an event were older players participated as role models,” said Nina Lindstrom from the club and mother of two hockey girls.

“The event was mostly organized by parents and team leaders of one of the girls’ teams in the club, and the hockey club was thankful for the drive and organisation of the event. It enlightens girls’ hockey and gives us an opportunity to draw more girls to the sport, as well as empowering the girls already playing and hopefully keep them playing in the future as well.”

Slovakia: Presov

The women’s hockey club Sarisanka Presov welcomed 51 girls who were divided into five teams to play various games on the ice with coaches and players of the club.

“The atmosphere was very good, and the parents said that they will bring their children next time too,” said club manager Jaroslav Sabol. The girls also had the opportunity to skate with former Olympian Petra Jurco, who was available for a photo and autograph session with the girls.

Mongolia: Ulaanbaatar

For the first time Mongolia hosted a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event at the newly opened Steppe Arena in Ulaanbaatar with the first indoor ice rink in the country’s hockey history.

The hockey academy of long-time national team player Mergen Arslan hosted the event despite difficulties due to Covid-19 measures and nine girls aged 5 to 10 came.

The ice time for the girls was two hours on late Saturday morning with a skating lesson and few games on the ice.

“It was so much fun and the new girls and others were so happy. In Mongolia hockey is only known as a men’s sport but the parents were positively surprised how much girls also love hockey,” Arslan said. “When the girls are playing, a lot of parents get involved... And when parents get involved, we have a chance to develop hockey in Mongolia.”

Slovakia: Povazska Bystrica

The youth hockey club of Povazska Bystrica organized an event on Saturday late afternoon and with 49 participants had more girls than expected.

“The Youth club coaches of prepared for the girls a very interesting program. The result was excited girls and satisfied parents. At the end girls got certificates, presents and hockey jerseys. The ambassador of the event was former Olympian Iveta Fruhauf. She was a great inspiration for the girls, for what I would like to thank her,” said club manager Stefan Konecny.

Slovakia: Trencin

Many newcomers came to the Pavol Demitra ice rink in Trencin. Of the 94 participants at the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend 89 have not been registered with any hockey club.

“The event had a very positive response from the girls. The girls really enjoyed skating with our former Olympian Iveta Fruhauf and with our team of coaches. The girls were very happy when they got a new hockey jersey, puck, bracelet and bags with the logo of Hockey Slovakia. They can’t wait for the next event,” said coach Milan Stuhl.

Slovakia: Zvolen

The women’s hockey club from Zvolen took part for the first time. “We didn’t know what to expect therefore we prepared thoroughly. We expected 19 girls, but 29 girls came,” said head coach David Sprusansky. “At the beginning we had nice visit – first steps on the ice with mascots. After this we had ice session with girls. At the end they got sweets, certificates and presents for their special day on ice.”
photo: Jan Stevonka

Romania: Bucharest

25 girls and young women from the age of 3 to 16 came to the ice rink in Otopeni near Bucharest for the annual event hosted by women’s hockey club Triumf Bucharest.

Due to the Covid-19 situation and strict protocols the organizers were limited with the number of people at the arena but made the best out of the situation and the participants had a good time on the ice.

Australia: Melbourne

Due to the lockdown there was no on-ice action in Australia this year. However, the Melbourne Chargers Ice Hockey still had their event on Sunday with a video conference that included 10 participants aged 15 to 47.

Players from the Melbourne area had the chance to share their experience with three guests: Tara Chisholm, head coach of the Canadian women’s para ice hockey team; Rylie Padjen, captain of the Australian women’s ice hockey national team; and her dad Rocky Padjen, the coach of the original women’s national team.

“Hopefully the girls took something away from the Zoom discussion to think about in relation to their hockey, but more specifically to think about with regards to their return to play post lockdown. We are scheduled to open up and be permitted to skate in two weeks from now,” said Emma Poynton, President of the club.

Netherlands: Heerenveen

The Ice Hockey Federation of the Netherlands organizes every year a big Girls Only weekend since the launch of the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend and this year 147 participants and 16 coaches from different teams, six referees and 30 volunteers came to Heerenveen Thialf for this year’s camp. They all came from different clubs across the country and were from 9 to 47 years old. The players were split into eight teams and played a round robin tournament.

“After 10 times we have seen this to help women’s ice hockey grow and also the level of play. We got a big tombola with 900 prizes and big dinner together,” said Jenny Goessens, chief of girls’ events. 80 girls from further away slept in a big sport hall and had pizza together. Among the participants were also 20 girls from neighbouring Belgium. “We are working together to get more things for the girls in Belgium and the Netherlands.”

This year also board members of the federation came to check out the big annual event. “They were very surprised about everything and gave us a promise to help us more in the future with girls’ events,” Goessens said. “Everyone was enthusiastic about the weekend and a lot of people gave compliments. The girls are looking forward to next year.”

Goessens also looks back at the ten years. From four women’s teams in the country the women’s hockey family has grown to seven teams competing in a league plus one team from Belgium. “And we have two, three teams coming next season so we are very proud of the growth that women’s ice hockey is making.”

There are also plans to have smaller girls’ events throughout the season in different locations.

During the weekend the Ilse Robben Award was given to Marlies Goessens (2020) and Wilma Olijhoek (2021). The new Ilse Robben Talent Award went to 10-year-old Iliana Diels from Belgium for her performance at the camp.

USA: Bowling Green

Bowling Green State University has spawned well-known NHL players like Rob Blake, Nelson Emerson, and Brian Holzinger. Yet on Saturday, the focus was squarely on women’s hockey in this Ohio city, as Slater Family Ice Arena hosted its World Girls Ice Hockey Weekend event.

With 12 participants aged between 4 and 10, the atmosphere was upbeat and there was plenty of personalized attention. Equipment was handed out right when the girls arrived, and then they hopped on the ice to hone their skills and participate in drills. In addition, they got a post-skate meal and a free invitation to an open skate time of their choice.

“Our participants and families were excited about the program and loved seeing female coaches on the ice,” said Tony Lake, president of the Bowling Green Youth Hockey Association. “Girls who had never skated before fell in love with hockey.”
Slater Family Ice Arena, a host venue for WGIHW 2021, has served the Bowling Green, Ohio hockey community since 1967.

Oman: Muscat

The Ice Skating Center at the Funzone entertainment center in Qurum, a suburb of the capital Muscat, was the venue for Oman’s first participation in the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. On Friday the Gulf country thus became the newest to take part in the global initiative held annually in October to promote ice hockey for girls and women.

In our featured story we talked with player and organizer Dalal Ambusaidi. Click here to access the story.

Switzerland: Kreuzlingen

The hockey clubs Thurgau Indien Ladies and EHC Kreuzlingen-Konstanz organized one of Switzerland’s events at the shore of Lake Constance in Kreuzlingen with ten girls from 5 to 12 years.

After getting to know the club the girls were on the ice for one hour with a professional coach and a Thurgau player.

“The girls were really happy. The parents are happy with the organization and that the girls could try ice hockey. They think that this weekend is a great chance for the female hockey,” said Andrea Kroni, board member and head of the youth organization.

Germany: Mannheim

The SAP Arena in Mannheim, known from the 2010 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, welcomed more than 25 girls and young women from 5 to 15 years at the event organized by EKU Mannheim Mad Dogs Girlies.

Mexico: Mexico City

Mexico currently sits 26th in the IIHF Women’s World Ranking, right behind Spain. But who knows? If World Girls Ice Hockey Weekend continues to spur positive growth, perhaps Mexico will become the leading primarily Spanish-speaking power in women’s hockey.

Monica Trejo, the president of the Girls Hockey League Mexico within the Mexican Ice Hockey Federation, helped to organize a 2021 event at the Buenavista shopping mall rink in Mexico City. It attracted 35 girls aged 5-17, as well as six coaches and three other staff members.

The girls enjoyed a two-hour morning program with three stations for different skill levels.

“We used almost all the games and drills suggested in the IIHF manual,” said Trejo. “All the girls were happy, laughing, playing, and the parents were excited as they participated from outside. Every girl got a certificate at the end.”

Trejo said she hopes the WGIHW event will bring in more girls to play both at the club level and international level. Last year, one girl brought her two sisters and three friends. Ole!

For our feature story on Mexico, we talked with organizer Bertha Gonzalez. Click here to access the article.
The 2021 WGIHW event at the Buenavista shopping centre in Mexico City was all about supporting one another and having fun.

Iceland: Reykjavik

Skautafelag Reykjavikur organized one of the Icelandic events at the Laugardalur Ice Rink in downtown Reykjavik with 60 girls and women joining from the age of 3 to 30.

The participants were received with a warm welcome – hot chocolate and kleinur donuts. Then it was time to borrow the equipment and hit the ice that was split into three parts for skating, a skills course and a hockey game.

“All around happiness and love from participants and parents. Since we started hosting the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend and Global Girls’ Game on regular bases we have increased girl players in the club by 500 per cent,” said Bjarni Helgason, the head of the youth program.

Alexandra Hafsteinsdottir, a player from the women’s team, works with the U8 and U10 groups in the club and with a special girls’ practice each week the club has been working on keeping girls’ in hockey. 
Three sisters on the ice in Reykjavik: Briet, Agnes and Arna.

Belgium: Bekkevoort

The Royal Belgian Ice Hockey Federation organized a girls’ event at Ice Skating Center Mechelen with 21 young participants including 18 girls who started ice hockey two years ago and three who were first-timers. There was also a hockey mum who for the first time joined her daughter on the ice.

The girls joined stations based on the Learn To Play program directed by former national team player Nadine Leirs so that everyone could try out different aspects of ice hockey according to their level. Former national team goalie Kirsten Schonwetter gave a dedicated practice to the goalies. The session ended with 3-on-3 hockey and many smiling faces.

“All girls had a lot of fun.  They love to play hockey among girls.  Most of the Girls in Belgium have to play in mixed teams and are always in minority. There is less pressure between girls. Also the atmosphere is always nice between the girls even if they are from different clubs,” said Tina Moons of the women’s ice hockey committee.

“We got very good comments from the parents and a lot of appreciation for taking the initiative to organize a Girls’ Only event. We see the last years an increase of new girls.”

There are now two girls’ teams in the country, one competing in Germany and one in the Netherlands. Now they hope to soon have a third team.

Norway: Oslo

One of several events in the Norwegian capital of Oslo was hosted by Hasle-Loren IL with 30 girls from 4 to 10 years old.

After the arrival on Saturday noon the girls were taken to the dressing room before hitting the ice in three groups. Beginners learned to skate and played. The girls who wanted to try hockey had an obstacle course, some easy drills, played soccer on ice and played a game. The girls who were already experienced had a full hockey practice with a game at the end before all groups joined from socializing and cakes.

“Both parents and participants seemed very happy and satisfied afterwards. The club is also very satisfied with the event, and we are planning to host a new girls hockey day in December,” said Sofie Fjellvang, coach of the girls’ team. “We hope that a lot of the girls who came wants to partake in our skating school, learn to play program or join our weekly practices. The club wants to have a u10 girls’ team from next season, and events like these are important when recruiting new players. It is also important that girls get to play hockey on the same terms as the boys, which is something we are working towards.”

Denmark: Kastrup

16 girls from three clubs joined the Amar Jets’ event in Kastrup who were from 4 to 14 years old.

It was an opportunity for girls to try out ice hockey and for the more experienced ones to play a hockey game where girls from different clubs were mixed together to play against players from their age group. After the morning sessions the girls had breakfast together with the organizers.

“The girls all had a great time, they all thought it was a lot of fun. The parents said it was very well organized and a lot of the girls were happy to participate in this event,” said Saara Hernesniemi-Lindemann from the club.

Bulgaria: Sofia

The Bulgarian Ice Hockey Federation invited current and future female ice hockey players to the Winter Sport Palace in Sofia. Over 30 participants had a master class with the Bulgarian national team players. Girls from the clubs Slavia, NSA, Levski-Sofia, Botevgrad, Levski and Irbis-Skate took part in the event.

The participants were divided into three groups: 6-9 years old, 9-12 years old and 12 and older. Each group worked on different skills depending on their age group and had a small-area game at the end of the ice session.

“The parents were really happy to see so many girls being on the ice together and cheer them during the ice time. At the end of the practice many parents and other club coached asked about organizing weekly ice time for girls only while they continue practise in their own clubs,” said Bulgarian women’s national team captain Stefani Stoyanova. “I was coaching the youngest group and received many photos after the practice and comments were that it was a great practice to watch.”

One goal is to create an under-18 women’s team with the growing number of young female players. The event was also used to look at the skill level of the teenage players. But there were also much younger players.

“The youngest girl was 4 years old and said she felt as she is in the mountain because she felt joy being there and she was very humbled that she managed to play with the puck few times during the cross-ice game at the end,” Stoyanova said. “She even counted the times she was playing with the puck and told her parents and coach after the ice time about it. All girls received an official puck with Bulgarian Ice Hockey Federation logo on it.”

Czech Republic: Ostrava

25 participants from 6 to 14 years old came to the RT Torax Arena in Ostrava to spend all morning with ice hockey. They started working on skating and general hockey skills, had fun activities and short competitions in groups split by age.

“The girls were excited and happy they could participate. The parents said this event could take place more often,” said Katerina Rezekova, manager of the Czech U16 women’s national team.

“Everybody could see that hockey can be fun and it’s not sport only for boys or men. I believe it will bring more girls to play hockey and women’s hockey will become more popular in our country. The best thing was to see the little girls leaving the ice with big smiles on their faces and saying they want to participate once again next year.”

Slovakia: Martin

On the occasion of World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend an event was organized in Martin, Slovakia.

“For people in our town hockey is their most favorite sport, they love it for years. Love to cheer, love to play. In this way, we are glad that girls are also interested in ice hockey, which they showed at the event,” said Denisa Hullova of MHK Martin. “About 50 girls were learning to skate, or those who have experience with hockey were improving themselves.”

New Zealand: Wellington

Daytona Adventure Centre in Wellington hosted a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in New Zealand with 33 women and girls taking part on Saturday morning. The age range was 6 to 55 years old and ten of them were totally new to ice hockey.

“We hit the ice and were divided into those that are new to the sport or trying it for the first time and those who are currently playing in one of our leagues,” said Shelley Winters, Vice President and board member at the Wellington Women’s Ice Hockey Development team.

Each group was led by a coach working on skating drills followed by scrimmage, speeches and food time.

“Our parent association, the Wellington Ice Hockey Association, were stoked with the turnout,” she said while the participants found the event awesome and loved the community feel.

The event was part of the continuous growth of women’s ice hockey in the capital of New Zealand. Three years ago there were just women who played with men, now there’s a full women’s team competing nationally.

“Ice hockey in Wellington is a little-known sport, many people often do not know we have a rink and this helped showcase women’s hockey. This day with its focus has put the spotlight on the sport for women and this will help us increase our numbers so that one day we have a full league just for women,” Winters said. “Several new women and girls indicated they wanted to keep coming back.”

Click here for our features story from New Zealand.
Home-made World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend inspired snacks for the participants in Wellington.

Slovakia: Poprad

17 cities host the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in Slovakia that already started Friday. Among the first events was the one from ZHK Poprad with 36 girls from 4 to 12 years in attendance.

After coming to the rink, getting their jerseys and going to the locker room the girls got their equipment and went onto the ice with the coaches and players from the women’s hockey team.

“The ice rink was divided into five activities on ice and a place for girls who were on ice for the very first time,” said head coach Ivan Bednar. “After the ice session they went to the locker room of ZHK Poprad to see how it looks like in official locker room. After that, they got certificates, presents  such as pucks, bags, stickers, bracelets and bottles and former Olympian Petra Orszagh gave them her photo with autograph.

“The girls liked the activities on the ice. They were very happy, when they could visit our team’s official locker room. They liked their new hockey jersey so much that they went home with the jerseys on.”
2021 World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend