Canadian women compete for gold in Sunday’s Para Hockey World Challenge Pipa News

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Regardless of the final result, Team Canada took the win before hitting the ice this weekend in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Women know they are making history at the first Women’s Ice Hockey World Championship.

“It’s amazing to see how many players are here and have four separate teams like this. It’s amazing to see the growth of this sport. I can’t wait for it to continue to grow,” said Canadian goaltender Tracey Arnold, who played on a regular basis. played hockey as a child until a car accident that killed her father and left her partially paralyzed at the age of 12.

On Sunday, Canada will play the United States for gold in the four-team World Challenge, which also features the UK and a multi-national world team.

The women hope that the tournament organized by World Para Hockey will be a stepping stone towards inclusion in the Paralympic Games, where men’s para hockey has been part of the program since 1994. Women made up only 24 percent of the approximately 560 athletes. last winter at the Beijing Paralympics. The lack of women’s Para hockey has been the biggest reason for the gender gap.

Canadian men’s para-hockey star Billy Bridges said women’s inclusion is long overdue.

“It’s time, holy cow,” he said during the Paralympics. “I know there are hundreds or thousands of women playing around the world. I know that if they do a women’s tournament at the Paralympic Games, the teams will come. I know that countries like China are not going to turn down the opportunity to win a medal. And don’t assemble a team. So many chicken and egg arguments, and I’m sick of it.”

Arnold, a 44-year-old mom and former world-class arm wrestler, started playing para hockey about seven years ago in Saskatoon, but has often been a single woman playing on “mixed” club teams.

While Canada’s men’s para team operates under the auspices of Hockey Canada, the women’s program is self-funded. Last month, players paid for a training camp in Calgary to prepare for the World Challenge tournament.

Bridges said being invited to the Hockey Canada team made a huge difference to the men who had to buy their own Canada jerseys off the rack at sporting goods stores and sometimes put six players in a hotel room while traveling because the team was independent. – funded when he joined in 1998.

Arnold, who works for the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said the future success of the women’s game depends on funding, awareness and equal opportunity.

“And he also has allies who help support women’s programs,” she added, pointing out that countries with men’s teams should also support women’s programs.

After losing 5-0 to the USA in the first leg of the tournament on Friday, the Canadians thrashed Great Britain and the world team 12-0 lopsided on Saturday.

Alanna Mach of Edmonton said she cherishes the rare opportunity to compete against teams other than the United States.

“We’ve come a long way from where we started,” said Mach, who lost some use of her legs when she was six months old due to spinal cord cancer. “But it’s still just trying to develop the game in different countries and actually introduce women to the sport, that it exists. Many women either don’t know or there won’t be enough in the country to form a team. .

“And the support and the awareness and the funding has also been low, but it has definitely increased… that’s why we can host events like this, develop the game internationally and show women that the game is for them. “

The tournament also features a female judging panel for the first time at the Paralympic Hockey World Championship.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 28, 2022.

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