Shannon Cleary is a writer who lives in Calgary with her husband and three daughters. For the Calgary Hockey Magazine, she’s covered everything from the legendary Hayley Wickenheiser’s journey to India to promote women’s hockey to the demand for more female goalies in Alberta’s largest city. Cleary is also hands-on with the sport.
“For my daughters’ teams today, we acknowledged WGIHW in the dressing room beforehand and handed out some [headwear] and snacks, and then they did their regular practice with their male and female coaches, dedicating their drills and games to the female game,” said Cleary. “Lots of cheering!”
Girls Hockey Calgary put on multiple World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend events this weekend. Partnering with the CWHL’s Calgary Inferno, the organization is nurturing talent and producing smiles at the same time. From novice and atom players to elite pros, women’s hockey is truly a part of daily life in Calgary.
“Girls Hockey Calgary is the fastest growing minor hockey association in the city,” said Cleary. “We have more than 760 registered athletes from Timbits through midget, including five elite female teams at the bantam and midget levels.”
The Inferno play their home games at WinSport, a spectacular legacy facility from the 1988 Winter Olympics with four bustling arenas. Visitors strolling past an indoor luge training run can turn their heads and spot Canadian women’s national team stars like Blayre Turnbull and Meaghan Mikkelson working out in a state-of-the-art gym. Photos and murals celebrate Team Canada’s victories.
“The opportunities have been endless for our girls to meet their mentors and to skate alongside the greatest in the game,” said Cleary. “Our girls say Calgary is the Hollywood of female hockey. And the World Girls’ Hockey Weekend helps them feel inspired and included. It makes them feel like stars.”
Calgary is one of three remaining candidate cities bidding to host the 2026 Winter Olympics. The other two finalists are Stockholm, Sweden and Cortina D'Ampezzo/Milan, Italy. The IOC plans to choose the host city in September 2019.
Girls all over the world have a greater chance of achieving their Olympic dreams after the IOC approved the IIHF’s proposal to expand women’s hockey from eight teams to 10 teams starting in Beijing 2022. Undoubtedly, some future Olympians will look back fondly at events like World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend in Calgary.
Click here to access the #WGIHW tracker with more stories from the World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend.