Thousands of girls and women in 30 countries and six continents will participate in ice hockey events with many of them trying out ice hockey for the first time ever. Click here for a list of events.
It is a chance for girls and women of any age to come together to learn the basics of ice hockey, play our fantastic sport and just have fun together and make new friends in a team sport.
Events can be organized by national and regional ice hockey associations, leagues, club teams or any group that wants to come together to support the growth of women’s hockey and spreading the word.
Want to follow the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend? Find the tracker below that will be updated all weekend long. Make sure to follow @iihfhockey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates during the weekend and use the official hashtag #WGIHW. Organizers can submit the reporting form to be included in the tracker.
Mongolia: UlaanbaatarUlaanbaatar is the world's coldest capital city, but the two-day World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend event at the Mergen Hockey Academy warmed the hearts of the Mongolian girls who participated.
Their ages ran between five and 13 years, and there were eight to 12 girls on the ice at any given time on Saturday or Sunday.
Mobicom, the largest provider of mobile phones in this Asian nation and a major hockey sponsor, brought in employees with their kids.
"It was so much fun for the kids, parents, and coaches," said coach Arslan Mergen of the Mergen Hockey Academy. "It brings the community together. We should do it more often!"
Finland: RovaniemiIn the administrative capital of Lapland, Finland’s northernmost province, RoKi (Rovaniemen Kiekko) sponsored a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event at Lappi Areena. It was a fun outing for the 23 participants aged five to 13. Seven of them were totally new to the sport.
Prior to the event, they got to watch a live Naisten Liiga game, with visiting Ilves Tampere defeating RoKi 4-0. Then, the girls hit the ice and were divided into two groups: those with and without full equipment. The latter group had the option of strictly practicing their skating or of using hockey sticks as well. Each group had an hour to spend as they wished, and it concluded with a group photo. In the dressing room, they got more information on how to continue with hockey.
“Everyone was having fun on the ice,” said RoKi women’s head coach Tuomas Liitola. “Three parents came and thanked us about how nice it was after the ice session. And it was nice to have our top team players on the ice helping the little girls.”
USA: Madison, WIMadison, along with neighbouring Middleton, did a fantastic job of hosting the 2022 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship on short notice in June. The Wisconsin capital shone again on World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend as 29 girls aged three to 13 put on skates at the Hartmeyer Ice Arena.
In addition to getting help with picking out equipment, skating, and on-ice skill stations, the girls were all smiles after receiving gift bags and pizza.
“We had great energy and feedback and spoke to a lot of parents about age levels and options,” said Elizabeth Payne, the treasurer for Patriots Youth Hockey. “Some girls signed up for the rec program, and other signed up for younger groups. We had a lot of walk-in participants, so I think the awareness is growing, and we’ll have more girls joining in with their friends.”
South Africa: Cape TownDid you know that South Africa currently ranks 37th out of 44 nations in the IIHF Women’s World Ranking? With luck, some of the 50-odd participants in the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event at the Ice Station at GrandWest in Cape Town will go on to boost South African hockey to new heights. With six indoor rinks and 112 registered female players, there’s plenty of room for growth.
For WGIHW, participants ranged from five to 40 years of age. The three-hour event featured drills, hockey talks, and a hockey game.
“Some of our senior ladies were helping the juniors and beginners,” said Salama Khan, the vice-president of the Western Province Ice Hockey Association (WP Ice Hockey). When the game was done, we had some fun in a photo booth that we created for the ladies. All the girls took some photos, and each girl was awarded a participation certificate and a t-shirt. They were all very excited and happy. The rainbow nation of South Africa is shining through with greater numbers in hockey in Cape Town and the rest of the country!”
Norway: HaugesundIf you’re a fan of bird-themed hockey mascots like Duckly (the mascot of the 2018 IIHF World Championship in Denmark), you likely would have enjoyed attending the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend festivities hosted by Norway’s Haugesund Seagulls.
The two-hour evening event drew about 40 participants, ranging from four-year-olds to adults.
“We provided equipment for the new participants to borrow,” explained Tore Samdal Lund, a Seagulls board member who oversees youth teams. “The instructors were both women from the women’s team in our club and girl players from age-divided teams. We decided to divide the group into new participants and participants who had been on the ice before, so as to have similar skill levels.”
A Q&A with the instructors for both parent and participants capped off the event, and everyone got to refuel with free fresh-made smoothies in the Haugesund Ishall cafe afterwards.
Slovakia: Spisska Nova VesTalk about being in the seventh heaven. 2022 marks the seventh time Spisska Nova Ves has played host to a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event. Coordinated by HC “Osy” Spisska Nova Ves, the Slovakian city’s women’s team, this edition saw more than 60 girls from as young as a year and a half to 12 years old enjoying themselves.
Each girl got an event jersey at registration. While they were getting dressed, team staff provided their parents with information on WGIHW and women’s hockey.
On the rink, five stations awaited. Instructors helped the girls with their skating and shooting skills. Games of hide-and-seek and small area hockey added to the fun. On-ice walkers were supplied for the youngest participants. Snacks and tea, plus photos and gifts, furnished a happy conclusion.
“We had a girl talking on the ice with her grandparents on Facetime about how she enjoyed everything there,” said HC Osy Spisska Nova Ves manager Tomas Cerny. “Also, our coach Barbora Kezmarska told me that she enjoyed it when she started to drag the smallest girls around with her stick or a pylon. She couldn’t get rid of them and they followed her everywhere around the ice!”
Norway: OsloValerenga Ishockey established itself as the premier men’s hockey powerhouse in Norway from the 1960’s through the 2000’s. Now the classic Oslo-area club is building a foundation for women’s hockey, including this year’s World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event.
Staged at the Jordal Amfi arena, it attracted 38 girls, who were divided into three groups: completely new to hockey, under age 10, or under age 13. Coaches and female players from nearby Gruner Ishockey were also in attendance.
With music blasting to set an upbeat mood, the girls started off with some free skating. Then the different groups broke off to work on their skills.
“The new girls had skating games like tag to focus on getting them used to different skating techniques, as well as showing how fun it is,” said organizer Laith Sawalha. “The under-10’s had an obstacle course, and the under-13’s had various exercises focusing on puck control and 1-on-1 situations.”
Mexico: Mexico CityWith 50 participants aged three to 16, the Mexican capital witnessed a successful World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend event at La Pista San Jeronimo.
After getting help with suiting up in their loaned gear, the girls spent an hour on the ice, doing IIHF-approved drills. The event wrapped up with a team picture.
"We all were so happy and thankful we got new hockey players," said Monica Trejo, who wears multiple hats as an IIHF integrity officer, president of the Girls Hockey League Mexico, and team leader of the U18 national squads. "This one three-year-old girl in particular was so happy. She is already skating very well. Actually, all the girls from our first season that launched three years ago are now good skaters."
Latvia: DaugavpilsThe Latvian Ice Hockey Federation hosted its World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in the south-east in Daugavpils where 25 girls and women from 7 to 35 years of age took part.
The event started with an introduction to women’s hockey from coaches of the women’s national team and players from the U18 women’s national team. The coaches helped to get the gear on, explaining the importance of safety on the ice and giving helpful tips on how to quickly get used to the uniform.
On the ice, it all started with the explaining and showing in detail power skating and stick-handling drills. All the girls did their best at every step to get the most out of the exercises and drills provided. After the drills, the girls were divided into several teams and played 3-on-3 games.
“The parents were truly happy to see their small girls being on the ice and enjoying the game together with real players from the national team. It’s really important that the girls can see future opportunities and what they can become – the players of the Latvia national team. All the parents were grateful and motivated by the event as they saw their kids happy, motivated, and amazed during the whole event,” said women’s hockey development manager Inguna Lukasevica.
Women’s hockey has grown in the Baltic region and the Latvian league become a Baltic league with 13 teams from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia playing in two tiers. After today’s event, Daugavpils hopes to create its own team in the future as well to join the league.
Lithuania (in Riga/LAT)Many female players from Lithuania were abroad this weekend to play in the Latvian championship against another foreign team from Estonia and it ended with a 6-1 win on neutral ice in Riga.
“The girls were pretty happy and enjoying themselves. The parents were proud of the girls. The spectators and everyone who decided to watch saw and interesting game. There were fans who came from Lithuania to cheer on their national team,” said player Vitlaute Jasineviciute.
The women’s hockey program that started with a national team and now includes several club teams started just a few years ago as part of the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend.
Slovakia: KezmarokSunday morning saw 10 girls from 4 to 7 years of age come together in the Slovak town of Kezmarok. On the program were activities such as games with balloons, balls, various tracs and eventually they also played hockey.
“The reactions were positive, parents enjoyed the event, the girls were little scared, but the fun games immediately put smile on their faces. The parents truly praised the whole event. We would very much like to welcome more of similar events in the club. It is an opportunity to improve,” said MHK Kezmarok coach Martin Bednar.
Slovakia: BratislavaAt the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend at the Ondrej Nepala Arena there was a special mother-daughter duo on the ice. Former Vancouver 2010 Olympian Jana Kapustova was one of the instructors for the girls and one of the participants was her own daughter (pictured below).
Slovakia: Banska BystricaIn 1977, Banska Bystrica put itself on the IIHF map by co-hosting the first official World Junior Championship for U20 men with Zvolen. For World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in 2022, the Barani youth hockey academy – founded by World Championship and Stanley Cup winner Michal Handzus – hosted more than 60 girls aged four to 10 at the Zimny Stadion.
The girls enjoyed themselves and enhanced their abilities with on-ice games and learning activities with names like “Catch the Ball,” “Mysterious Forest,” “Sports on Ice,” and “Shooting at the Hockey Goal.” After spending two hours on the ice, they received refreshments, got gifts and certificates, and were invited to come back.
“We received very thorough help from the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation,” said Barani’s Robert Mihaly. “They managed most of the event management, including setting up the project resources, and marketing of the event via various channels. They also helped with participant registration and coordinating the logistics with gifts and certificates. I found this approach definitely good, as some clubs like ours currently do not have the ability to plan such a big event.”
Mihaly added that Barani has connected with clubs in Sweden to learn about how to start and manage a full girls’ squad over the long term.
Norway: NesbruThe village of Nesbru, a short drive southwest of Oslo, celebrated World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend at the Holmen Ishall. Organized by Holmen Hockey, the event attracted eight girls between the ages of five and 11.
A learn-to-skate session, paired with on-ice activities and games, was followed by snacks and drinks in the arena cafeteria, while the parents received more information about hockey possibilities for their children. Afterwards, the girls headed back out for more fun on the ice.
Holmen Hockey’s Maren Frohaug described the reaction from parents and participants: “They were all very happy that the club was taking the initiative to create a training group for girls. The parents were happy that the kids had a good time, smiling and laughing on the ice. I think it is a great way to get some publicity for what the club is trying to organize for the girls in the community.”
Slovakia: Ruzomberok30 young girls born 2012-2018 came to the rink in Ruzomberok. After getting a jersey and gear on they hit the ice for 75 minutes with professional youth hockey coaches where they had games and drills.
For the club it was a great opportunity also to have more visibility with an event supported by the IIHF and the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation and the first effect was girls who registered to join MHK Ruzomberok.
“It was nice to see the smiles on all the girls’ faces. To see new friendships being made and ice hockey bringing people together. The girls’ hockey weekend has shown us that hockey is for everyone,” said youth hockey coach Patrik Oravec.
Slovakia: Michalovce53 girls from age 4 to 10 joined the girls’ hockey event in Michalovce. At the beginning the participants spent few minutes for the registration, had time for preparation in the changing room. After that was the main programme on the ice was held for 60 minutes with five different fun activities. At the ends the girls were happy and got presents and a certificate while parents enquired about possibilities for training with the club.
Finland: Oulu50 girls from 3- to 14-year-olds came to Sunday’s Girls’ Day of Karpat Oulu. After the arrival, registration and getting the equipment they had a one-hour session on the ice of the Baari Areena.
Long-time Finnish national team goalie Noora Raty made an appearance to address the participants and two players from the men’s pro team also joined to help the girls on the ice. After a first activity with everybody the ice was divided into three different stations with a game, skating drills and stickhandling drills.
“I think we will get a few new members who will join the club and start a new hobby. It’s important that these kind of events are organized to girls. This is a simple way to introduce hockey for girls and get few new members every time,” said Saija Tarkki, board member and director of women’s and girls’ hockey operations at Oulun Karpat 46 ry.
Belgium: LiedekerkeThe Royal Belgian Ice Hockey Federation welcomed 35 players (including five goalies) in Liedekerke where they had a two-hour time slot for the Learn to Play program for girls where they went through six different stations with a break in between. It was a great afternoon all about development and in honour of the late Johan Bollue.
“The parents see their girls blossom during these events and make new friends. We notice that these events also contribute to the formation of the national teams later on because they already know each other through these events,” said Tina Moons, chairwoman of the women’s ice hockey committee.
Also thanks to the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend women’s hockey has grown in Belgium in recent years and two women’s hockey teams even play abroad, the Lady Sharks Mechelen in Germany and the HYC Girls in the Netherlands.
The World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in Belgium didn’t only show that ice hockey is for all genders but also for all age groups. The youngest, Aurelie, was five years old, the oldest participant 47.
Belarus: Minsk53 girls from 6 to 10 years of age came to Minsk Arena. For many it was the first ice hockey experience, which already started with a first highlight when they got helped into the gear. After an hour they hit the ice with youth hockey instructors and players of Dinamo Minsk. They went through drills in different sections on the ice and in the end received gifts on top of the great memories.
Belarus has hosted the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend before but for the first time did so with a younger age group with many players skating on the ice for the first time.
“Certainly, our ultimate goal is the creation of the Women's Nation Ice Hockey Team of Belarus, but we are well aware that without some basic things, without recruiting a sufficient number of girls, without a sufficient number of girls attending ice hockey schools, we will never be able to put this team together. Therefore, our key task is to show girls what ice hockey is, to involve them in this sport, including through such events when they can just come and enjoy skating,” said Evgenia Nikitina, PR head of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Association. “Perhaps tonight one of them will come to their parents and say, mom, dad, I want to play ice hockey, take me there!”
Switzerland: NeuchatelFor than 50 girls aged under 12 hit the ice at Patinoire de Littoral in Neuchatel for a 4-on-4 tournament with teams from the cantons of Neuchatel, Valais, Vaud and Zurich with girls from other regions joining the teams. The Zurich team won the event with the hosts from Neuchatel taking the second spot.
“The girls were super happy to play with other girls, everybody had a big smile on the face. The parents were surprised by the amount of girls present and were happy with the organization. A big thank you to all participants, parents, volunteers, referees and coaches for the great event,” said Laure Aeschimann, President of the Neuchatel Hockey Academy.
“The World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend is a great opportunity to organize an event around women’s hockey and to advertise our wonderful sport. Young girls – who are alone in boys teams – are motivated to play with other girls and get a perspective for the future in their sports. In general, that kind of event is a good promotion for women’s sports and women’s ice hockey in particular.”
Finland: EspooEspoo located outside of Helsinki did not only host a successful 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, it is also looking for the future of Finnish women’s hockey. 35 girls, some new, some already with the club, some bringing their friends to try it out, aged 4 to 10 came to the Warrior Areena for the event hosted by Kiekko-Espoo on Saturday.
After meeting at the arena they had an hour on the ice for various fun drills to learn the basics of skating and hockey, which they did so in smaller groups depending on their experience. After the ice time girls got stickers and wristbands to take home.
“Girls and parents were happy and satisfied of the event. Several new girls told us they want to come again, so we provided them with information about how to get started. The reactions were overall positive,“ said Venla Mattila, director of girls’ hockey at Kiekko-Espoo.
“This kind of events that puts the spotlight on the sport for girls is needed, as it builds awareness and introduces ice hockey for girls who might not otherwise find their way to ice hockey. In the long run it will help increase the numbers of female players. It is important for girls and families to see other girls playing ice hockey and female players and coaches on the ice. The visibility that this event brings will help building a culture for girls’ ice hockey and grow participation. As a part of recruitment, the event is a great and easy opportunity for girls to try ice hockey and maybe continue playing in a club.”
Slovakia: LevocaHK Spis Indians Levoca organized on Saturday afternoon an event for girls at the local Ice Stadium where the participants went through four areas on the ice with a small-ice game, shooting, skate and catch, and some fun skating exercise.
“We get positive feedback from the participants. They were having fun with all activities. The parents of the girls were happy that we made a good event for their children. One of the moms was surprised how fast her daughter learned to skate. The reaction of the spectators was amazing. We want to atrract more girls on the our organization,“ said Michal Zoricak.
Czechia: OstravaNo less than 52 participants came to the RT Torax Arena in Ostrava with girls ranging from 6 to 14 years of age.
They were split into two age groups for training on and off the ice, a game and had lunch and discussions about the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend together.
“They are very happy that this event is organized. It is very nice to play only with girls. They love to be part of the girls’ ice hockey community. They are enjoying the whole day,” said Katerina Rezekova, manager of the U16 women’s national team. “It is nice to see the smile in the girls’ faces when they can share ice hockey with other girls. And it is also very nice to see them making friendship.”
Slovakia: PresovSlovakia has grown girls’ hockey in recent years also thanks to being active in recruiting new players during the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. This year 11 events were held across the country including this one with 31 participants in Slovakia. The girls were split in different groups and played games following instructions from the coaches.
“They were very happy,” said Jaroslav Sabol of ZHK 2000 Sarisanka Presov. “Thanks to these events more girls are interested in hockey. More parents are willing to support girls playing hockey. It spreads the word that hockey is for everyone.”
Japan: OkayamaImagine getting to learn about hockey from three-time Olympians like Hanae Kubo and Sena Suzuki. That dream became reality for the 40 girls aged six to 15 who took part in the Japan Ice Hockey Federation’s World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in Okayama. It’s located in the western part of Honshu, Japan’s biggest island.
In addition to refining their skills and playing 3-on-3 games, the girls enjoyed an off-ice program where they focused on understanding themselves, including their priorities and goals.
“The top-ranked keywords were ‘fun’ and ‘communication,’” said Toshi Takahashi of the Japan Ice Hockey Federation. “This is the meaning behind this event. It helps not only the players but also their parents understand why we play hockey, providing the federation’s philosophy.”
A photo session wrapped up the day and the participants got award certificates. The federation also expressed its gratitude to its WGIHW sponsor, the Taiyo Life Insurance Company.
USA: New York CityMany American women’s hockey greats have honed their skills by competing with boys at an early age, from the Lamoureux twins to Kendall Coyne Schofield. Perhaps some more greats will come out of New York City.
The North Park 8U Mite Gold team – whose 11-player roster includes three girls – marked World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend by playing two back-to-back games this morning at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, Connecticut. They then held a team practice at City Ice in Long Island City, New York.
Building supportive camaraderie, skills, and confidence is a big focus for the girls.
“Regularly, spectators from opposing teams look at our Mite girls and will comment that they are ‘so cute,’” said Julie Lamb, the 8U Mite Gold Parent Commissioner. “And then their mouths drop open as they see those ‘cute’ girls with ponytails fight for the puck, pass with conviction, and take shots on goal. Today, our girls gave it their all in every shift and made significant contributions to their team wins. More importantly, they had a blast.”
Hong Kong, ChinaWith more than 90 participants, this year’s World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in Hong Kong marked a successful collaboration between the Women’s Ice Hockey Organization (WIHO) and the Hong Kong Ice Hockey Association (HKIHA). Coaches and players from the Hong Kong Women’s Ice Hockey League (HKWIHL) took part.
On-ice and off-ice activities took place at Mega Ice at Mega Box in Kowloon Bay, the area’s biggest rink. Players got help putting on their equipment and received skating and puckhandling instructions, with the ice divided into three different zones according to skill and experience levels. Ages went all the way from two to 55.
“The on-ice session ended with a mini-exhibition game, showcasing to the newcomers and potential new recruits how the game should be played,” said Adrienne Li, who doubles as the captain of the Hong Kong women’s national team and the head of WIHO. “We hope the high-level competition at the end of the event will boost long-term interest in the sport and also inspire the younger kids to have the passion and love for the sport with a goal to achieve a competitive level in the future.”
Other fun activities and giveaways included a scavenger hunt with hockey puzzles, an iPad station with an interactive quiz and video games designed by WIHO, hockey stickers, and more. At the very end, the kids got cookies and cake pops, a hockey-themed activity book, and a balloon with a WIHO key chain.
“From the smiles and laughter we witnessed throughout the evening from arrival until the kids left the rink, it was clear everyone had a fun time,” Li added. “Many kids wished they could continue to stay, despite it being late on a weeknight with school the next day!”
Philippines: Pasay CityThe Mall of Asia Ice Hockey Rink in Pasay City (pop. 440,000, south of Manila) hosted a World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend evening event with 60 participants. The players were divided into three groups.
First, girls aged 12 and under who started playing hockey this year did skating, passing, and shooting drills and then played a small area game. Second, teenagers who had some skating experience got to improve their skills on blades and then tried some puckhandling drills. Third, some girls aged 10 and under were able to get on the ice for the first time, and free hockey sticks were handed out to the winners of the games played at the end of the session.
“The parents were really excited and happy when they got to see their kids having fun,” said Imelda Regencia, Team Manager with Hockey Philippines. “For all the games we had for each group, everyone was cheering on each other, as well as the parents. It will promote the sport here in the Philippines and will specifically promote girls' hockey here, as some people have been mentioning that hockey is for boys.”
Currently, the Philippines – a nation of nearly 115 million people – has 48 registered female hockey players, compared to 88 registered male players. So the potential for growth all around is immense.
Bulgaria: SofiaHockey players Stefani Stoyanova and Vanesa Georgieva in cooperation with the Bulgarian Ice Hockey Federation organized an event in the capital of Sofia. 30 girls and women joined from local teams, the Bulgarian U18 women’s national team and senior women’s national team for a day dedicated to girls’ hockey.
After getting equipped the participants had a one-hour ice session and were separated according to their skill level with the U18 women’s national team players organizing the different stations focusing on skating, passing and shooting.
“All participants were very happy and thankful for the event and for helping little girls to play ice hockey and enjoy the game,” said Georgieva.
“The World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend is a great opportunity for girls. We truly believe that ice hockey is suitable for girls. Ice hockey is for everyone. All the girls were really excited about that opportunity to skate and play hockey side by side with players from under-18 and women's national teams. They loved the time spent on the ice.”
Iceland: ReykjavikThe Icelandic capital of Reykjavik has two World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend events with the one at the downtown Laugardalur Ice Rink hosted by Skautafelag Reykjavikur.
30 participants hit the ice for the event on Saturday joined by players from the women’s senior and youth teams helping them. The youngest participant was just three years old, the oldest newcomer 25.
They started with some skating drills together before they were separated into different age groups to play games. At the end they were rewarded with hot chocolate and kleinur – Icelandic-style doughnuts.
“Everybody was really happy with the event and the positive atmosphere,” said Bjarni Helgason, adding that thanks to having joined the event a few years ago they had a huge growth in girls’ hockey.
USA: Grand Rapids, MI25 skaters including 14 new to the sport assembled at the Patterson Ice Center where the Grand Rapids Amateur Hockey Association organized an event on Saturday afternoon led by girls’ hockey director Tae Otte and players from the girls’ teams
“The event introduces this sport to females who might not normally try hockey. Several of the girls registered for our learn to skate,” said General Manager Jean Laxton.
Switzerland: KreuzlingenThe HC Thurgau Ladies organized their traditional World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event in Kreuzlingen at the shore of Lake Constance with ten newcomers from age 4-10 joining on Saturday morning for a one-hour hockey session.
“The girls were really happy that the players Leoni Balzer und Sandra Schmidt from the HC Thurgau Ladies did the practice and went with them on the ice,” said board member Andrea Kroeni.
“The World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend is a great thing for girls’ hockey. Together we have to work hard that more girls will be playing ice hockey.”
Germany: Mannheim33 participants from 4 to 17 years of age came to one of the practice rinks of SAP Arena in Mannheim, one of the venues of the 2010 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Germany, on Saturday morning.
On the program was skating skills, stick handling, puck games, goalies practice and for the youngest ones skating lessons. In the end they played hockey games to show what they learned and have fun.
“It’s the best activity for promotion,” said Rene Toupet, team leader of the Girlies from the Mannheim Mad Dogs. “We had coverage in the local newspapers and the club magazine. Girls’ hockey is growing in our area and we had even participants coming from 100 kilometres away. Year after year we see an increasing number of girls playing hockey. Some of the girls who started on a day like this are now playing on the German national team.”
Kuwait: BayanThe Kuwait Winter Games Club organized the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend on Saturday with 50 kids in the age group 5-9.
After the parents had brought the girls to the rink, the participants were getting ready for fun on the ice. They thoroughly enjoyed the event and there’s the wish to have more such events for them.
Kuwait will next month again be on the international spotlight of women’s hockey when they organize the first Women’s Development Cup where the Kuwaiti will play against women’s national teams from other developing women’s hockey programs around the world.
KazakhstanThe Kazakhstan Ice Hockey Federation organized girls’ events in four cities: Almaty, Astana, Karaganda and Oskemen / Ust-Kamenogorsk.
“In addition to girls who are already involved in hockey we had new kids coming. It was a great hockey holiday. We invited professional hockey players for the master class, held various competitions and even organized sweet gifts for all the girls. I hope we will be able to make our sport more popular and attract as many girls as possible”, said women’s national team head coach Viktoria Sazanova.
Norway: FredrikstadStjernen Hockey welcomed 15 girls from the age of 5 to 12 in Fredrikstad. They were on the ice for one hour with one half used to learn basic hockey skills and the other to play 3-on-3 hockey. Off the ice they played different kinds of games and had pizza together.
They also had their little show at a game of the men’s pro team and got free tickets to watch the game together.
“All the girls said that they were having a lot of fun. They were helping each other, and it looked like they were having a good time,” said Victoria Lovdal, recruitment manager for girls. “Such an event is important for recruiting girls as players. A lot of girls think that hockey is a men’s sport and it’s important to have focus on the girls.”
Netherlands: AmsterdamIJshockey Nederland and the Amstel Tijgers Amsterdam had a group of 35 girls and young women from the age of 9 to 18. Some were nervous about their first experience but were warmly welcomed by Minke Verberk for an introduction. The practice was led by Ondrej Kratky and national team players Britt Wortel and Zoë Barbier.
After an hour of training at different stations the participants had the chance to play the game amongst each other with many happy faces on the ice and at the lunch together. Wortel and Barbier talked more about women’s ice hockey later and also showed videos from their colleagues Mandy Flink, Bieke van Nes and Emily Even. The girls got an insight into what it is like to play for the National team and what you have to do for it, they also got videos of what a day at an IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship tournament looks like.
At the end the participants got their certificates from Jenny Goessens, responsible for girls’ events at Ijshockey Nederland.