Click here for a full list with all events. For more action, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and use the hashtag #WGIHW 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.
Mark your calendar: The tentative dates for the next World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend are 5-6 October 2019.
Argentina: Buenos AiresArgentina organized a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend this year that took place on Sunday morning in the capital of Buenos Aires.
The event took place at Polarcity, which calls itself the largest indoor ice rink complex in South America.
Hungary: BudapestNo less than 120 participants were on the ice when the Hungarian Ice Hockey Federation organized its World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in the capital of Budapest at the Tuskesator ice rink including 15 national team players, 15 women’s hockey coaches and 10 volunteers who helped the newcomers.
The participants were split into six groups with six different colours and had the chance to first take some photos on the ice and with the national team players. Three teams started with fun games outside while three teams started on the ice. After two hours the ice was open for everybody and friends and family could join the girls on the ice. In the afternoon the girls were able to watch the Elite Women’s Hockey League game between KMH Budapest and Olimpija Ljubljana.
“Everybody really enjoyed the weekend. The jerseys were really nice so parents even wanted to buy more for their kids in a different colour. The Newcomer got the chance to try out the sport and we hope they’ll go to club trainings. Those who already played got even more motivated and the wider community heard about women’s hockey,” said event manager Boldizsar Vegh. A national sports channel and other media were present and did interviews with the national team players and Hungarian IIHF Council member Zsuzsanna Kolbenheyer.
Romania: BrasovASC Corona 2010 organized the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend during two days at the Olympic Ice Rink in Brasov with participants from 3 to 16-year-olds. On both days it started at noon and the girls were joined by the club’s mascot Wolfie, a wolf.
The kids had fun while working on their hockey skills and the parents enjoyed the time spent at the ice rink with their children during this special weekend.
“The impact had a good meaning both for the girls and for the parents, some of them even registered in our club to take ice hockey lessons in our initiation class. Everyone understood the importance of sport in their lives and the fun in doing sport on the ice,” said Alexandra Sampetru of Corona Brasov.
Turkey: Ankara/Erzurum/IstanbulFour World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend events were held in Turkey including three organized by the Turkish Ice Hockey Federation. About 50 participants from 8 to 18 years came to the three venues, the Umitkoy ice rink in Ankara, the 3000’Lik ice rink in Erzurum and the Silivrikapi ice rink in Istanbul, usually joined by parents and friends on the tribune.
The coaches helped the young participants to get ready with the equipment and the special World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend jerseys. They played some games and funny activities like catch the puck, sharks game and other fun games on the ice and in the end got a certificate.
“They were really happy. After the ice session the parents took some photos with their children and coaches,” said Sport Director Alkan Kilinc. “This event really important for women hockey and to raise awareness. The participants now believe that they can do this sport and have fun.”
Romania: Otopeni (Steaua)In the Bucharest region a bit outside in Otopeni even two clubs from the capital city organized a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. On Sunday afternoon it was the Steaua Rangers’ turn with 20 girls between 8 and 15 years of age.
“The girls have enjoyed more than 2 hours of fun on and off the ice. The parents were delighted that this year there were more girls than last year,” said club president Valentin Dragomir. “The female ice hockey weekend has a positive impact as it brings together more and more ice hockey girls in Romania as well.”
That they liked the event was also very visible in the photos they did (more in the gallery) including this one where they formed a star on the ice, formed by the future stars of Romanian women’s ice hockey.
Serbia: Novi SadAlthough Serbia does not play in the Women’s World Championship program yet, the Serbian Ice Hockey Association is working on getting more female players involved also by taking part in the annual World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. This year’s event took part in the north in Novi Sad and was a success. 53 girls from 6 to 18 years old were joined by 11 coaches for a 75-minute ice session with a demo practice. After a break they had another 75 minutes of ice time for small-area games, relay races and other fun activities before eating pizza together.
“Everybody was very happy about event and meeting all the girls from Serbia on one place. It’s a different approach of practice and they realized the number of female players in Serbia and met new friends. The parents loved the opportunity to see their girls skating and having fun with only girls on ice, giving them even more motivation to continue to play this sport in Serbia,” said Uros Brestovac. Internet media and a local TV station helped making the event known and bringing more girls to the hockey clubs.
“Every moment spent with these amazing 53 girls and their coaches was fantastic and inspiring to keep up with the positive attitude and hope for better tomorrow for female hockey in Serbia. It was great to see the youngest group (age 6 to 8) and how skilled they are, how they listen and work hard on ice, and how they spent fun time off ice with oldest group of girls (age 12 to 18), how they all get together along and smile and play.”
Latvia: MarupeThe women’s hockey team L&L organized the second day of the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in Marupe.
What was special here: In the photo below you can see three generations of ice hockey players as three-and-a-half-year-old Mikela is joined by her mother and grandmother on the ice!
22 girls who haven’t played ice hockey on a regular basis before were joined by nine players and two coaches of the club. Of the new players, nine have shown interest to join practices of the club.
Norway: KristiansundArena Nordvest in Kristiansund was the setup of another World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in Norway hosted by Braatt Hockey. Since the organized ice sports in Braatt is only are a month old, they got more coaches and focused on getting the girls on the ice, on learning to skate and have fun. 70 girls were on the ice who were between 5 to 10 years old. Arena Nordvest is the first ice rink with a roof in Møre og Romsdal in Norway which opened last winter.
“The girls had a really fun day and everyone seemed to leave the ice with a smile. Some parents replied and where very happy about the event. The club was happy, the owner of the arena was more than happy and all in all people where very happy about the event,” said Silje Hagen of Braatt Hockey.
“As a small city in Norway with the first ice arena between Trondheim and Bergen, we are very proud of being able to attract 70 girls to the event and were only beaten by Stavanger in terms of numbers. It gives us good motivation to continue our work to get ice hockey bigger in Kristiansund and include more girls.
“I think the event had a really got impact for the club, since as a new hockey organization we where able to show us even more for the girls as well. I think more girls are willing to start on ice activities. We already have some new girls who want to try hockey, so its very good for the club.”
Indonesia: Bintaro JayaThe Indonesia Ice Hockey Federation (FHEI) is one of the newest IIHF member national associations and also this year organized a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend this year at the Bintaro Jaya Xchange Ice Skating Rink in a shopping mall in Bintaro Jaya outside of the capital of Jakarta. 15 young players of the women’s national team were joined by 15 newcomers skating experience who were between 12 and 16 years old. After a women’s hockey game on Saturday morning the participants were introduced to ice hockey in Indonesia before having an hour on the ice to have some fun games and 3-on-3 small-area games.
“The participants and parents were very excited with World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event and they hope that we will hold more similar events, then ice hockey will become increasingly known in Indonesia,” said General Secretary Wiwin Darmawan Salim. “It makes our rink community well known by other parties that we are considering to develop ice hockey for girls.”
Hong KongHong Kong has been organizing a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend for many years, and annually it draws many people to the Mega Ice rink in a shopping mall at Kowloon Bay. 50 participants came with the youngest four years old and the oldest 40.
The one-hour ice time was on Saturday evening at 20:45 and a couple of more participants joined spontaneously as they saw the posters around the rink. While some knew ice hockey or ice skating, some were at the rink for the first time. Therefore the participants were split into two groups.
“The Participants enjoyed the event and were happy to have a chance to try skating. The parents are thankful to this event as it allows them know whether their kids were interested in ice hockey. Some parents inquired for ice hockey beginner program for their kids. We are happy to see this positive outcome of this event,” said Ching Man Anita Chan, Sports Executive at the Hong Kong Ice Hockey Association.
“The World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend Event do have a significant impact as it can attract more new female players. As ice hockey in Hong Kong is an expensive sport compared to other sports activities, some girls do hesitate before making decision to play ice hockey. And through this event, it can help these girls to ascertain their choice.”
South Africa: Cape TownThe Grand West Arena in Cape Town where South Africa will again host IIHF tournaments this year was the place of one of the country’s World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend events. Organized by the Western Province Ice Hockey Association and the Griffins team, 16 women between the ages of 15 and 35 years tried ice hockey on Sunday morning.
After starting with skating, the Griffins players took care of introducing ice hockey in a fun way and were later included in an exhibition game with the players.
“We are hoping that events like this will draw ladies to hockey,” said women’s hockey manager Gillian Swart. “The Griffins team in Cape Town spread the word of breast cancer awareness and play in pink for the cause, thus showing that community is important and all lives matter.”
Korea: SeoulThe Korea Ice Hockey Association enters the first year after the Olympic Winter Games on home ice with the new U18 women’s national team that will have its IIHF debut in the upcoming winter. Several of the players have gone through previous World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend editions and this year 14 girls came together for the event.
“The players prepared for the off-ice practice. On the ice, they took group photos at the beginning and started to play games and group practice,” event director Hyuk Jae Lee said. They enjoyed the ice session and the skill games.
For the participants it was a starting point in preparing for the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship Division I Group B Qualification. “Dream big” and “You can do it” were the main slogans of this event this year.
USA: Pittsburgh PAThe Arctic Fox U12 hockey team organized a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event in Pittsburgh with 32 female players from 4-16 years of age joined by players from the U12 and U19 teams.
Some of them learned skting for the first time while others started straight with the puck before playing some fun games on ice.
It was a great event not only to introduce new potential players to girls’ hockey but also to show the U12 team how to help each other and share the passion for the sport.
In the end they had a pizza party including candy bracelets and former U.S. national team goalie Brianna McLaughlin talking about hockey with her Olympic medals on-site.
Czech Republic: Blansko & PribramIn the Czech Republic two World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend events were organized in Pribram (Bohemia) and Blansko (Moravia) to cover a big part of the country with 90 girls from 6 to 15 years who came.
The parents were given the information about the activities in girls’ hockey, development, national teams, future possibilities for the girls while those went on the ice for four hours with fun exercises, a min hockey tournament and some fun games like racing with parachutes or speed measurements.
In Pribram it was organized with the U16 national team and the ten most skilled players joined the U16 team for a game. Petr Novak, head coach of the women’s senior national team was on-site in Blansko. In the end the girls got small presents such as pink backpacks, pink pucks and sweets.
In the Czech Republic there are three events per year in this format, some of the girls come at every event.
“The parents are also very glad that we exhaust the girls every time because they are searching the action and enjoyment for their girls in this age. And it’s much better to spend all day at the stadium playing with other girls than in front of the computers and mobile phones. The parents don’t hesitate to drive hundreds of kilometers to these events, which is great,” said Martin Voltr, who covered the weekend for hokej.cz.
Some of the coaches involved in the event used their experiences learned at the 2018 IIHF Women’s High-Performance Camp in summer including coaches Martin Cimrman, Klara Mazankova and fitness coach Daniel Skalicky.
Switzerland: KreuzlingenEHC Kreuzlingen-Konstanz organized one of the two World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend events in Switzerland at Bodensee Arena in Kreuzlingen at Lake Constance joined by 15 girls from 4- to 10-year-olds.
After learning about the possibilities, after that it was time to go onto the ice and have fun. "They were really happy and had fun. The parents liked this event," said Andrea Kroni, youth manager. A newspaper journalist was on-site to report and the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation made the video below:
Norway: HaugesundThe Haugesund Ice Hockey Club hosted another World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event in Norway with 35 girls coming and seven instructors. Most of the girls were new to the club and between 5 and 11 years old.
The kids and parents learned why hockey is a great activity and had 75 minutes on ice with the instructors in groups of three different levels that ended with dancing to the banana song and many happy faces.
“They really loved skating and being on ice, and many of them said they will come back next week. The parents also gave positive feedback – it really was girls playing hockey demystified. The club members who were present said that the event was successful. The local newspaper was also present, the journalist interviewed some of the girls participating at the event, both first-timers and our younger hockey girls and the coach,” said Linda Bruaas, board member of the club.
“I hope that events like this will get us many more girls on ice also in the long run. We need more girls playing hockey. But many parents are initially wary regarding their girls playing hockey – so we need events like this to show them that hockey is a fun and safe activity also for girls.”
Switzerland: KlotenLong-time Swiss national team goalie Florence Schelling, who retired recently but will stay involved as assistant coach of the U18 women’s national team, organized a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event also this year in Kloten outside of Zurich. With 60 girls between 5 and 12 years of age she was working on the future of Swiss ice hockey.
The check-in at Swiss Arena was on Sunday morning at 10:00 before the girls were split into two groups. While the beginners started on the ice, the advanced group had first an off-ice workout before switching sides and doing a group photo. Schelling and some of her national team colleagues led the practices and signed autographs after practice.
“The reaction is great, the girls really enjoy this day. It’s a lot of smiles and laughter all around. The parents are very thankful that I am organizing such a day and giving girls such a platform. The newspaper Zürcher Unterländer even came by to interview the girls and the coaches so that they can write a story about this day,” Schelling said and hopes the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend will have a positive impact in her country. “However, there is still a long way to go in Switzerland.”
Latvia: TukumsThree events took place in Latvia and the one hosted by the Latvian Hockey Federation was organized in Tukums west of Riga with 25 participants from 5 to 27 years of age. After skating and hockey skills exercises a 3-on-3 mini tournament was organized in two age groups. Afterwards the participants and their parents were informed about the opportunities and latest developments of girls’ ice hockey in Latvia and the girls received a commemorative medal.
“The parents expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to spend their family time in a positive and exciting atmosphere. They also pointed out that this event contributed to the understanding that ice hockey is safe and suitable for everyone,” said Inara Zvidre, responsible for girls’ hockey development at the LHF. “The World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend is a good opportunity for clubs and communities to introduce girls’ hockey to the society and step by step make it more popular in the country.”
USA: Livermore CATri-Valley Lady Blue Devils celebrated the World Girls’ Ice Hockey City in Livermore in Northern California with over 50 girls of ages from 2 to 16 years old. The participants included existing Lady Blue Devils players, girls from other teams, and girls new to hockey. Hosting it the second year, it was made open to the public this year.
“The participants included Lady Blue Devils players, their siblings, friends and all girls from all around the area who wanted to come see what the sport of hockey is all about and why our girls love hockey so much. The ice rink was decorated with posters made by our players, photographs of hockey action shots and girls having fun at practices,” said Olha Markova, PR and Communications for the Tri-Valley Minor Hockey Association. It was a great event to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the girls’ team and participants used the photo booth for fun pictures to keep the great memories of this day.
“Everyone and especially girls loved this event. Everyone had so much fun at this event. The younger girls loved that they got to skate with the older girls. Girls who just started our program that morning came to the event and met their future teammates and made them love the game even more,” Markova said.
“I think this event brought a lot of awareness for our program and girls’ hockey in our area. A lot of families brought friends who were a little interested in playing hockey, and now they are fully interested. Many families came and asked for information on how to become a Lady Blue Devil. This is definitely an event that will help our program continue to grow.”
Norway: TrondheimNorway has hosted no less than 15 World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend events this year, fifth-most in the world, and one of them was organized by the Astor Ishockey Club at Dalgard Ishall in Trondheim with the help from the Wing women’s team and another club, Leangen.
The participants were split into beginners and advanced players, who worked on power skating exercises and played a game while the beginners got familiar with the ice and ice hockey. Later the girls and their parents were invited to the café where there were more activities.
“We had several girls that have tried skating and ice hockey before but given up quickly, partly because it has usually been crowded with both boys and girls. Now they enjoyed being given some more space and attention,” said Karolina Storesund, board member of the club. “I think the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend is a good opportunity to show that increasing girl’s hockey is a goal on both an international and national level.”
Italy: AllegheFor all the years Italy has been a big white area on the map of countries that host the World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend and had to look jealous at others. Not this year, long-time national team player Linda De Rocco thought, and hosted Italy's first WGIHW making it 42 countries this year!
“We had a lot of fun with the girls. We don’t have so many events just for girls. It was a pity we haven’t had any event like this before in Italy, so we decided to do this for the first time. There are so many countries, even small islands doing it. We said: ‘Let’s try!” We are really proud,” said former Olympian Linda De Rocco.
“We are a really small town in Italy, so to host such kind of events is really good. We were the first team that made it despite being a small mountain village.”
Check out our featured story from Alleghe.
Ukraine: DniproThe Dnipro Squirrels organized one of the two World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend events in the Ukrainian city at the recreational rink in the Most-Centre mall with 56 participants. There were 18 kids, boys and girls, under 12, then two girls-only groups (13-15, 15-18) with 19 participants and two women’s groups with another 19 participants. Some mothers who brought their girls spontaneously joined the action on the ice too.
The guests started arriving at the mall after 14:00 to register and meet the players. Then they received their rental skates and sticks. The club’s players showed the participants in different groups the basic skating techniques while at the other end participants could shoot on the net.
After the classes three teams were formed among the participants to play games and then they received gifts and diplomas.
“We had a local TV channel making a report about the event. That was quite nice, helped to create an atmosphere of a professional and official event. After the end of the event some participants and parents asked when and where the kids’ teams train. Many people said “Thank you” with big smiles. That was very pleasant thing to know, that people liked and enjoyed our World Girls’ Ice Hockey Day,” said the club’s President Maryna Borysenko.
“We hope this event will help us to recruit more young talented female players to our team. We also believe it will help to spread information about our club and a hockey as a game for women, not for men only, as it usually considered in our society. We are sure that such events help our nation choose to live a healthier lifestyle. We, as current hockey players, promote by ourselves the beauty of the game of ice hockey, a fashion to be an athlete and a passion of doing something as a team. Those values are ours and we believe such event helps to share them in local city community.”
Ukraine: KyivThe women’s committee of Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine organized for the third straight year an event for girls – try real hockey for free! The arena was open for girls from 10:00 to 18:00 for various activities in and around the rink.
Beside fun activities and classes, there were also two games between boys’ and girls’ teams.
An under-14 girls’ team was composed of players from different youth sports hockey schools of Ukraine from the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Bila Tserkva. The boys team of the Kryzhynka sports school had a narrow victory, 5-4.
They played a second game against the boys of the Sokol sports’ school from Kyiv but got tired in their second game and lost 11-1. But the girls were not upset. They received unforgettable emotions to be in one team and would love to have such an event again.
Some of the girls have started to play ice hockey thanks to the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in the past two years.
“Our real treasure is Daria, 10 years old. She started to skate only one year ago at the same event in Kyiv last year. After the WGIHW in 2017 she started to practise with the boys’ team as forward. In one month of practices she made the decision to try herself as a goalie. Now she is pretty good goalie in the Ukrainian multi-regional kids league (43 teams, 550 participants in 2018/2019 season) for kids born in 2007 and 2008. She’s the only girl on the boys’ team,” said Alexandra Slatvytska of the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine.
The event was attended by the Minister of Youth and Sport, Igor Zhdanov, and his deputy, Mykola Danevych, who held welcome speeches and wished the girls good luck.
The girls participated in a new activity. Take a mandarin and write you wish, then put it on the tree. There’s a legend that if the mandarin is on the tree, your wish will come true soon. Good luck to all participants!
Iceland: ReykjavikThe Reykjavik Hockey Club hosted 15 participants at the Laugardalur Ice Rink with female players ranging from 4 to 35-years-old. Players from the senior women’s team welcomed the participants for an hour-long session, played games and had fun on ice. Later the participants were given hot chocolate and kleinur, an Icelandic sort of donuts.
Bjarni Helgason, board member of the club, was happy about the outcome. “We got very positive feedback. Next year we need to advertise sooner to get more girls to try out hockey,” he said. “All special girls’ events are very important for our club since we have very few female players.”
Norway: Sarpsborg18 girls, most of whom had never visited the rink before and were 4-10 years old, came to the Sparta Amfi in Sarpsborg in Norway. The local women’s team helped them get dressed while the parents had a cup of coffee and talked with the organizers about skating, hockey and the club, Sparta Sarpsborg.
The girls were on the ice for 50 minutes with many fun games and in the end got to shoot pucks on the team’s goalie. Later in the locker room they had more fun, got invitations to games and to participate in the hockey school.
“We had a lot of positive reactions, mostly from mothers of girls who almost never tried skating before. The parents said this was a very good initiative, they told us that their girl had a blast today and some said they will be back for our hockey school!” a happy team manager Jenny Karlstad-Solberg said.
Canada: CalgaryWhile the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend is a global event, it’s the hard work and commitment of families supporting minor hockey associations that make it succeed locally.
Check out our featured story with Shannon Cleary from Girls Hockey Calgary.
Mexico: Mexico CityIt can be almost as much fun to organize a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend celebration as it is to actually participate. Just ask Bertha Gonzalez, who helped to set up a Saturday evening event in the capital city of Mexico.
“The World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend for me was fabulous!” Gonzalez raved. “It makes you fall in love even more with hockey. To see a lot of young girls enjoying the game, it just gives you more energy to keep working on it.”
Forty youngsters, mostly between the ages of six and 17, laced up their skates at the Ice Station Buenavista in a Mexico City mall. They enjoyed learning from 10 women’s national team members. Each girl got a name tag, and then the ice was divvied up with five stations, featuring fun drills to instill the basics of hockey during an hour-long session.
What are the long-term targets in this emerging women’s hockey nation?
“It’s about getting more girls into ice hockey and ending the idea of hockey in Mexico as a sport just for boys,” Gonzalez said. “We want to show the girls and especially their parents that girls can play too. Also, this helped both the coaches and players who organized the event, not only to share their passion for the sport, but also to get some knowledge about recruiting new players. It’s not just about one weekend. It has to be all the time, to help the girls’ game grow.”
Slovakia: Liptovsky MikulasIn the Slovak town of Liptovsky Mikulas the Winner sports/relaxation centre organized a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend on synthetic ice also with the help of a skatemill to simulate ice skating. The girls could learn some basics with moving and shooting the puck and in the end received gifts.
“Everyone enjoyed the event a lot. People said they would love to see a girls’ hockey team be created in Liptovsky Mikulas. That way the girls could meet regularly,” said Martina Staronova from the centre. “We will definitely do our best to have the opportunity to meet these girls regularly, have fun and enjoy hockey together. Because hockey is for girls too!”
Lithuania: Kaunas“As myliu ledo rituli” or in English: I love ice hockey! Under this slogan Hockey Lietuva organized three girls’ recruitment events in Lithuania. After Klaipeda and Vilnius it was Kaunas’ turn on Sunday as part of the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. In the country’s second-largest city, the participants got two hours of ice time filled with skating lessons, throws to the net, hockey with a small football, mini hockey games and more.
“All were very happy. They got jerseys with the Hockey Lietuva and the ‘as myliu ledo rituli‘ logos,“ said Egle Zemlickiene, women‘s hockey manager at Hockey Lietuva. “Such events are very important for Lithuanian ice hockey to make it more popular.”
IrelandThe lack of ice in the Republic of Ireland didn’t discourage the ice hockey enthusiasts to show the game to a new generation of players. The Dundalk Warriors hosted a girls’ try-out hockey session in Crossmaglen where national team player Lorna Hoey was on hand to pass down her hockey knowledge. Including to her young niece (pictured).
The newly founded women’s hockey club Sirens IHC had a celebratory get-together after their second game of the season of the Cross Border Cup. The girls celebrated female hockey and their first win of the season against an all-male team with a #WIGHW cake and sweets.
The Dublin-based club Flying Ducks hosted their female event in Gormanstown.20 participants took part in a hockey skills session. Aisling Daly, a former player with the Dundalk Lady Bulls, and national team player Beatty Hosgood ran the session with a number of other volunteers. The girls participated in off-ice team games, coordination drills and mini hockey games, and also had the chance to get their faces painted.
“This is the first time Ireland has had more than one event, which will no doubt increase exposure of the female game across the island. This along with the fantastic news that we are getting an ice rink back in Ireland in the coming months can only further increase our female membership,” said Sonya McEneaney, female development officier at the Irish Ice Hockey Association. “One of the younger participants was very upset when the session had ended that she cried for almost an hour because she didn’t want to go home! In her words she ‘had so much with all the different girls!’”
South Africa: Port ElizabethThe Eastern Province Ice Hockey Association organized a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event at Baywest Ice Rink in Port Elizabeth, South Africa for the second time with 41 participants from 3-year-old Kenzie (pictured below) to women over 40. 23 participants were newcomers while 18 players were from the local team.
The session on Saturday morning covered some basic aspects of skating and passing for the beginners girls, to more advanced drills for the local ladies team members.
“The participants all had fun and we have most definitely gained a few new hockey-loving ladies , who have already indicated their intent to join our development practice on Friday evenings,” said Carine van Eck of the EPIHA. “We trust that this event will have a long-term effect on the positive growth of our female members.”
Russia: BogorodskFor the second year running, Russia’s Women’s Hockey League celebrated the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend with a range of events across several cities including this event organized by SKIF Nizhni Novgorod in Bogorodsk.
Read more about this and other events in Russia in our featured story.
Spain: GranadaSpain’s only World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event took place in Granada in the southernmost area of the Spanish mainland where ice hockey is a fairly new sport.
After activities for women’s hockey, the day also included a game of the Spanish top women’s league on Saturday night where the Granada Grizzlies wrote history. They had a rough start in the new league where they joined as the eighth team with an 18-0 loss at Majadahonda and losing 8-0 on home ice against Txuri Urdin from Donostia – San Sebastian.
But third time was a charm during the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. For the first time a women’s hockey team from Andalusia won a game in the top league, 6-3 against CH Jaca. Czech import Martina Vondrkova had a great night with two goals and four points, Cristina Ubieto also scored twice.
Slovakia: Spisska Nova VesHC Osy Spisska Nova Ves was one of the hosts in Slovakia and 19 participants from 2 to 35 years of age came to the local ice rink on Sunday morning. After a welcome and learning about the opportunities in ice hockey, they had a first ice session with games such as a skating alphabet and duck shooting. After a tea break they continued with other games including throwing tennis balls at a Minion mascot.
“It’s been the fourth time we have held this event, it’s always been fun for us and the participants, the parents enjoyed it. Coach Barbora Kezmarska said that she loved to work with these girls as they were very responsive and diligent,” said club manager Tomas Cerny and remembered the first moments of the girls when getting equipped. “We took the girls to our locker room and showed them the full hockey equipment which they could try on. The youngest of them were pretty amazed and took photos of themselves in the equipment.”
Australia: MelbourneIce Hockey Victoria hosted a Come and Try on Sunday afternoon at the O’Brien Group Arena in Docklands close to Melbourne with 15 U18 players and 20 adult women. There was a waiting list as only 35 could come onto the ice and 100 people were in attendance at the rink. 40 volunteers helped them get the skates and equipment in the right size on long before the ice session before the whole group learned the basics of hockey, how to fall and get up and played games like Simon Says. Then they were split into groups to work at four stations: small-area games, cone relays, puck handling and passing. After the group photo there was a Lightning Tournament game for the experienced players to showcase the sport.
For Julie Cantrill, Women’s Director of Ice Hockey Victoria, and the female players, the World Girls’ Ice Hockey is a favourite of the annual calendar. “They love to be able to share their passion for the sport with others by volunteering at the event. All the participants and volunteers had a lot of fun during the ice session which was well planned and delivered by our coaching team led by Georgia Moore. Many participants said they would love to start learning to play ice hockey, so we provided them with information about how to get started. The junior girl’s parents thought it was a fantastic experience for their daughters and asked when the next event was on while the spectators were amazed at how much fun the participants were having on the ice.”
For the girls and their parents being able to try out ice hockey in a safe and friendly environment is exciting. The event has been growing each year in Melbourne. “Each year increasingly more girls and women attend our IIHF Come and Try in Melbourne and experience the comradery and wonderful sense of community that we have and often decide to take up the sport. The benefits of playing ice hockey are enormous for the individuals as it improves their health and well-being while the community benefits by having positive, happy and engaged women in their families, as friends or as colleagues,” Cantrill said.
United Arab Emirates: Abu DhabiHave you ever tried tug-of-war on the ice? The women’s team Abu Dhabi Storms did during the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in the United Arab Emirates.
USA: Prairie du Sac WI2018 Olympic gold medalists Hilary Knight, Brianna Decker and Meghan Duggan are the top three women’s hockey scorers in the history of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. That’s just a half-hour drive from the Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center, where the Sauk Prairie Youth Hockey Association staged its World Girls’ Ice Hockey Event on Saturday.
About 20 girls between the ages of three and 12 took part. And whether they were inspired by the American women’s gold medal victory in PyeongChang or just wanted to have fun, the event was a resounding success.
“Girls arrived a little before 4 pm to get fitted for equipment and take the ice with help and instruction from members of the local women’s adult hockey team, the Quench Crushers,” said local organizer Jeremy Gesicki, who also serves as the Girls' & Women's Section Director with the Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association. “They stayed on the ice for approximately two hours.”
The ripple effect, however, will last much longer.
“Parents appreciated the opportunity to have their daughters take the ice and try hockey,” Gesicki said. “A number of first-time skaters came right off the ice to ask if they can join the local girls’ team, the Sauk Monkeys. It is great to have this global event to tie into, communicating that there is a larger support structure for girls’ and women’s hockey.”
South Africa: CenturionThe World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend offers a cool experience for many South African kids as four events in four provinces were set up for Saturday and Sunday. 70 girls came to the rink in Centurion in the Gauteng province with many newcomers and a mix of kids from the well-off areas around the mall as well as schools from less privileged townships.
Read our featured story in which we have a chat with organizer Patricia Mlangeni.
Norway: StavangerStavanger regularly hosts one of the biggest World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend events with 74 girls joining the event who could choose between three different levels and were between five and nine years old. They were told a bit about how it’s on the ice and to never give up when they fall, got skated and helmets. After mastering walking with the skates on the rubber, it was time for the ice for the three different groups. And once the 55-minute session was over, they danced the “Cut Bananas” song at centre ice with the Stavanger Oilers mascot as in the video below.
“The girls loved it and they want to return. But it’s the parents who decide. Most of them were impressed of what we do for the girls,” said Ernst Falch of the Stavanger Oilers. “The event helps us to never give up recruiting girls, to involve them and get more into ice hockey.”
Netherlands: HeerenveenThe Thialf ice rink in Heerenveen was a busy place as 120 participants from 9 to 40-year-old and 50 volunteers came to the event. Eight etams were formed to play a mini round-robin tournament.
“After eight years we can see that women’s ice hockey is growing both by numbers and by the level. We got a big tombola with 900 prices and a big dinner together,” said Jenny Goessens of IJshockey Nederland. It was a weekend-long event where 70 girls slept in a big sport hall. It was a big party but by 1am everybody was sleeping.
The Ilse Robben Talent Award after the games went to Roos Karst. She is just 13 years old and started only two years ago but already practises with the U18 women’s team.
Denmark: CopenhagenSaturday night was “Girls’ Night Out” at the Copenhagen Falcons at the Ørestad Skøjtehal, the new ice rink next to the Royal Arena that was used as practice facility for the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. 26 girls from eight clubs between 9 and 15 years of age came to be amongst themselves on the ice.
Women’s national team player Malene Frandsen and TV2 hockey reporter Jimmy Bøjgaard started the session with a discussion about women’s hockey before former national team player and Falcons head coach Camilla Søgaard led the ice session together with national team player Malene Frandsen. After a dinner and group discussions a special second sessions started with an LED puck and the lights out. The evening continued with watching hockey movies before the parents picked them up at 23:00.
“Our club wants to be known for doing something extra for girls’ ice hockey. This event will definitely put us top of mind in Danish girls’ ice hockey,” said Anders Frederik Gjesing, chairman of the Copenhagen Falcons. The 26 players, five per cent of all female players in Denmark, couldn’t agree more and had a fun Saturday night.
USA: Farmington Hills MIIt’s fall and Halloween is getting closer. So why not making a hockey-themed pumpkin contest when hosting the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in the U.S.? That’s what the HB Hockey Club did at their event in Farmington Hills, Minnesota. And here’s the result:
Netherlands: EindhovenIJshockey Nederland and the U18 women’s national team of the Netherlands organized an event with 30 participants from 10 to 15-year-olds and 25 volunteers in Eindhoven. Different coaches and veteran players were on-site to organize a special practice for the girls with various stations, a specific goalie practice and small-area game. After the one-and-a-half hours on ice, the U18 women’s national team played an exhibition game against a team from Cologne that the Dutch won 4-2.
“It was a great day for the women’s hockey in the Netherlands to work with the future. We want to make girls’ hockey in the Netherlands bigger and better and bring it to a higher level,” said Jenny Goessens of IJshockey Nederland. “We are on the right track with the U18 women’s national team and now we are working for a new dream, un under-16 women’s team and more teams in the championship.”
Japan: YokohamaOn Sunday afternoon the Japan Ice Hockey Federation hosted a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend session in Yokohama. 55 girls born 2003-2008 participated in the event.
The future players were greeted by their coaches and joined a talk show with Japanese Olympians. Topic: “Dreams”. Later they had their warm-up, had skill lessons and played games. In the end everybody got an award certificate.
The girls visibly enjoyed being on the ice with “Smile Japan” as the women’s national team is called. “I enjoyed very much to play with Smile Japan,” one participant said.
Another noted: “I wish to be a Smile Japan player in the future. I will make a dream, the dream to become a target, then reality as I learned today.”
“It makes a big impact to the participants and their community to have this great opportunity being with the Olympians who played at PyeongChang,” said Toshi Takahashi of the Japan Ice Hockey Federation. “We shared that 42 IIHF member national associations are doing this event at the same time, that we are part of good promotion.”
Greece: AthensPlaying ice hockey in Greece isn’t that easy because there is no full-size ice rink in the country. But enthusiasts keep ice hockey alive at facilities of a smaller scale. During the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend the ice hockey club Flying Chicks organized an event at the Ice n’ Skate rink in the Athens region.
Russia: UfaRussian women’s hockey team Agidel Ufa organized a “master class” during the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend that was open for all interested girls. After 30 participants last year, 50 girls came onto the ice this year. To be able to be on the ice together with professional female players, some came from far away to the capital of Bashkortostan.
Mexico: LeonThere are many events in America but it doesn't stop in Canada and the U.S. Here's a story from the first World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend event of Club Bandidas in Leon, Mexico. Other events in Latin America are scheduled in Mexico City and in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Latvia: MarupeThe ice hockey development project ICE Academy together with the women's ice hockey team L&L hosted a girls mini tournament as part of the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend, which was also attended by floorball club NND, ice hockey club Frozen and 16 newcomers, of which many played ice hockey for the first time in their lives. In total there were 42 participants at the event that took place in Marupe, a suburb close to the international airport of Riga.
“We are really happy about the courage, the responsiveness, the great interest and the elevated mood both in the dressing rooms and on ice,” said Inguna Lukasevica of the Ice Academy. “We hope that this event is the beginning of a new friendship with one of the most exciting sports in the world.”
Malaysia: Kuala LumpurLast season was a historic ice hockey season for Malaysia. The country hosted the Southeast Asia Games and built the first full-size ice rink. That meant improved results for the national teams as the players can play the game according to the rules now and also more parents and kids getting interested in the sport.
The World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend was a good opportunity to capitalize on the trend and find new female players as the Malaysia Ice Hockey Federation hopes to join the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program with both men’s and women’s teams in a few years.
MIHF General Secretary Hisham Yahaya talks with us about the WGIHW and their ambitions in this featured story.
Great Britain: NottinghamBritain’s World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event was hosted under the slogan “don’t delay, play today” at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham. 40 participants came for the event hosted by the Nottingham Vipers. Check out in the video what it looked like.
Australia: BrisbaneThe Ice World in Acacia Ridge near Brisbane was one of several venues in Australia for the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. It was organized by Ice Hockey Queensland with the two clubs Brisbane Goannas and Southern Stars and 36 participants from 5-year-old girls to women over 40 participated on the ice.
The participants were helped to get equipped and coaches and players of the two clubs led the one-hour ice session in four different groups depending on their abilities. The coaches rotated the groups through various stations which included passing, shooting, puck handling and an obstacle course, which produced lots of smiles and laughing from all ages.
“The feedback received was extremely positive. Everyone had lots of fun with many of the beginners showing interest in the upcoming ‘Come and Try’ sessions being hosted by the local clubs,” said Lee Brown, women’s director at Ice Hockey Queensland. They also got a schedule to watch games of the Brisbane Goannas in the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League.
“Ice hockey in Brisbane is small compared to the traditional Australian sports. By hosting events like World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend, it enables participants to have a go at something new and challenging. The event also enables old ice hockey players who may not have played for a while to come back out for a session.”
But the best part were the smiles and laughter throughout the event on and off the ice in this very mixed group of participants that also included several mothers joining their daughters on the ice.
Beside the joy for the girls and women, it helps ice hockey grow in the Brisbane area. “I have been involved with the event for three years and now I see girls who came to the event years ago and are now playing for a club,” Brown said.
Singapore: SingaporeOne of the long-standing organizers of World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend events in Asia is Singapore where this year’s edition took place on Saturday at The Rink at Jcube. National team players were on-site to help the young newcomers.
USA: Colorado SpringsIn the hockey world, Colorado Springs is best-known for USA Hockey’s headquarters. While 2018 has been a big year for the elite American women with Olympic and U18 gold medals, the Colorado Springs Tigers Amateur Hockey Association also hosted a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event on Saturday. Nineteen young girls came out to have fun and chase their dreams at World Arena.
“The main activity was cross-ice games for 10U and 8U girls – a free and fun event that was publicized via email and social media,” said Marsha Fortney, the social media and marketing manager of Colorado Springs Tigers Girls Hockey. “A lot of girls came early to watch our 12U girls team take on Colorado Select – both teams are in the Front Range Division of the Mountain States Girls Hockey League. They checked in, received USA Hockey jerseys on loan, and received a photo of the US women’s gold-medal Olympic team. They dressed in the locker rooms, then hit the ice for an hour of 3-on-3 games.”
The atmosphere was buoyant, with tons of smiles and laughter, as proud parents took videos and photos.
“It was especially great for the younger girls to see the 12U girls teams in action,” said Fortney. “It provides them with a vision of what the future could look like. It was also good to raise awareness of girls hockey programs in our city and lets people know we are active and organized.”
USA: Newark NJIf you were at the RWJ Barnabas Health Hockey House in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday, it was impossible to miss the smiling faces. After joining forces with the NWHL’s Metropolitan Riveters, the New Jersey Devils organized a World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event for the second consecutive year and it was another success – despite the Devils being on the road in Sweden and the Riveters in Minnesota.
Read here our featured story on the event in New Jersey.
Romania: Otopeni (Triumf)The women’s hockey team Triumf Bucharest with the Romanian Ice Hockey Federation organized an event in Otopeni outside of Bucharest.
48 girls came, most of them under 12 years old, some a few years older.
One hour before the event the participants met and got in the mood with some off-ice games. The players from the team helped the young participants to get comfortable in the dressing room with the equipment. On the ice they did an obstacle course, stickhandling, one-on-one and a 3-on-3 game.
The hockey family also had some real families on the ice with four pairs of sisters and another family with three sisters on the ice.
“Our hockey community is small but has a big heart. All the parents were amazed by the desire of the girls, and they enjoyed that the girls had a lot of fun. Everybody involved was pleased because we put some effort into it. The girls had a lot of fun so I’m very pleased about that because you should never forget to love the game,” said head coach George Pogacean. “It’s the third year we host this event and it’s growing from year to year from 20 to 35 and now almost 50. Women’s hockey and hockey is growing in Romania and that is a very good thing.”
Bulgaria: SofiaBulgarian national team player Vanesa Georgieva organized the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in Bulgaria that took place at the Winter Sports Palace in the capital of Sofia. 30 girls and women between the age of 4 and 40 came from the local teams and the women’s national team.
The older ones helped the younger ones to get equipped and to learn skating and puck-handling. After the hour-long session on the ice a lottery was organized where the participants were able to win equipment. In the end everybody was a winner as the players had fun and got a branded puck.
“All of the participants – players, coaches, organizing committee and parents – were very happy and thankful to the Bulgarian Ice Hockey Federation for organizing this event, and for helping little girls to play hockey and enjoy the game. All the girls were really excited about that possibility to skate and play hockey side by side with girls from the national team. They loved the time spent on the ice,” Georgieva said. “The World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend is a great opportunity. We truly believe that ice hockey is suitable for girls. Hockey is for everyone!”
Turkey: KocaeliOne of the four events in Turkey was organized by the Kocaeli Youth Sport Club in Kocaeli east of Istanbul. 16 young women were on the ice on Saturday evening and some mothers even wanted to join too. They got some equipment and tried skating, passing and playing.
“The girls were happy to participate in this event,” said head coach and organizer Eray Atali. “In our city we don’t have a women’s team but we have 20 girls who join practices with boys. This event may help to form a team.”
Kuwait: Kuwait CityIt will be a historic year for Kuwait. Last season the Gulf State started with a women’s national team, which in the new season will for the first time compete in an IIHF event. Good timing to join the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend for the first time.
70 female players between the age of 7 and 35 came to the Ice Skating Rink in Kuwait City on Saturday evening. The current players showed an exhibition game to introduce the sport of ice hockey to the new ones and the spectators. The senior players helped the newcomers with the equipment and how to skate and use the hockey stick.
“The participants were all excited to be on the ice and found this as an opportunity to make new friends. The parents were amazed to see what their kids were capable of and how a sport can bring lot of excitement and teach them team work. The parents enquired a lot about how this game works and what are the enrolment procedures. Everyone was happy at the fact that the event bought a lot of awareness to the game and more publicity,” said Meshal Alajmi, Development Manager of the Kuwait Ice Hockey Association. “It’s a new exciting sport in our society especially for girls which has gained a lot of acceptance and likeness. This event will help the general public to take the sport more serious and try more harder to take out time for it and some might even start considering it as a career profession.”
USA: Stockholm NJWhile new women and young girls make their first steps in hockey during the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend, it’s also the time experienced players get involved. They go onto the ice as instructors, talk about the opportunities through hockey or get ready for autograph and photo sessions. How often do you have the chance to be on a picture with not one, but even four Olympic gold medal winners? Only at #WGIHW! Here at the Junior Rangers event in Stockholm, New Jersey.
Canada: Paradise NLThe World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend allows future female hockey players not only to try hockey but also to try what their idols do. Like doing your own Natalie Spooner style selfie at TomCats’ event in Paradise, Newfoundland in Canada. And what a nice hat they used!
USA: Columbus OHNorth America is getting ready for its first events too this time around. Like here in Columbus where 60 girls are expected to come soon for the Blue Jackets’ Get Out and Learn program!
USA: Vernon Hills ILNobody is too small to skate. In particular not during the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. Welcome to the hockey family Olive!
Russia: St. PetersburgThe World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend has started in Russia with many club’s from the Women’s Hockey League involved. Watch in this six-minute video how hockey journalist Tatyana Chernova switches the side and goes on the ice with Dynamo St. Petersburg.
Ukraine: Kyiv & DniproMake the ice ready for the women! Ukraine, which will join the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship program for the first time after years of preparation, organizes again several World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend events. These pictures reached us from HC Ukrainochka in Kyiv and from the Dnepr Squirrels, one of two women’s hockey clubs in Dnipro that host events this weekend.
Germany: BerlinOne of the first events on Saturday took place at Wellblechpalast, the legendary rink in the east Berlin where Eisbaren Berlin and its East German predecessor Dynamo Berlin used to play. The junior organization of the club supported by the German Ice Hockey Association organized the event in the German capital.
After a welcome and getting the equipment it was time for a one-hour ice session. There were different stations for skating, shooting, games and a fun station with balloons. Even a hockey merry-go-round (see below) was included! Once an exciting hour was over, the girls got giveaways and more information on how to continue with playing ice hockey.