For the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg it means the first time women will play an ice hockey game in the country of 600,000 inhabitants nestled along the borders of Belgium, France and Germany.
Luxembourg joined the International Ice Hockey Federation already in 1912 but because the country is one of the smaller ones in Europe, there are only 432 registered players who have to share their ice time at the Patinoire de Kockelscheuer with two ice sheets close to the capital city or about one hour away at the outdoor rink in Beaufort. It took exactly 80 years until Luxembourg formed a men’s national team to play in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program in 1992. Today the team is 42th in the IIHF Men’s World Ranking.
Due to the restrictions in size and rinks there are just a handful of teams in the country. The strongest club, Tornado Luxembourg, plays more games abroad in the French system than in the domestic competition. For women’s hockey there haven’t been enough players. Yet. Because the hockey family around the Luxembourgish Ice Hockey Federation (FLHG) wants to change this.
“We started with a beginners’ team that practises on Mondays at 21:15,” said Christophe Hernandez, a former Luxembourg national team player who coaches the team. They approached the FLHG with the aim of building a women’s team. Currently there are eight to ten players at practices – not enough to play a game. With this promotion video they are looking for more women and girls to join the coolest sport on earth and reached out to the nearby German city of Trier too. “For the moment it’s just [about] building up a team and then we’ll see.”
But it will less about the score than about the message to the world that women’s ice hockey is cool and can be played everywhere. One of the Global Girls’ Game venues to exemplify this will be Luxembourg as the newest country with a women’s hockey team.
And hopefully the new ice hockey players will be joined by more women and girls soon at their weekly practice.
Click here for the full schedule of the Global Girls' Game.