NAIT Ooks women will face MacEwan Griffins women on Falun rink Dec. 1

PLACE organizer says outdoor women’s college hockey game likely first in Canada

Hockey fans better note down Saturday, December 1: the Falun Female Challenge which brings together two women’s ACAC college hockey teams for a throwback outdoor hockey game with a day packed with activities.

Hosted on the Falun community outdoor rink and sponsored by MEI Energy Solutions, the day will feature the NAIT Ooks taking on the Grant MacEwan Griffins in hard-hitting college hockey action to benefit the Pigeon Lake Athletic Cultural Education Society.

Event chair Neil Brown said PLACE wanted to follow up the hugely successful Oilers/Flames game two years ago.

“Two years ago PLACE hosted an Oilers/Flames Alumni game at Falun and it was a huge success,” stated Brown in an email Oct. 25.

“The idea of an official league game of some sort had always intrigued me. I just didn’t know at what level or how to begin to arrange something like this. I had formed a relationship with the NAIT Ooks Women’s Hockey team over the past couple of years while coaching girls hockey and so I approached them with the concept, knowing full well we had the right facility and the right group of people to get behind this.

“I had been researching the history of women’s outdoor hockey games and there had never been anything done at the college level in Alberta and we still cannot find anything that says it has been done in Canada. It has been done in the US through the NCAA a few times and once at the professional level with the CWHL.

“We sat down with the NAIT and GMU staff and put a concept together. We then approached the ACAC with our idea, along with Hockey Alberta and they put their blessing on it. This will be the first ever women’s college outdoor hockey game in Alberta, possibly Canada,” added Brown.

Brown said not only will the event be history-making and a lot of fun, but is raising funds for a very worthy cause.

“Proceeds from this event will go to PLACE,” stated Brown.

“We will be using any funds generated to go towards the maintenance of the facility along with the ability to upgrade it to become a year round, multipurpose facility with basketball and volleyball courts, in-line hockey, or any other event that needs a large space.

“There are many ideas and plans for the facility. However it is run entirely by volunteers and funded by events like this. Our community has given us tremendous support through donations and grants but we are always thinking of different ways to give back. Hosting outdoor hockey games are a simple way to say thanks.”

Hockey fans and supporters of the event can expect an awesome game featuring two bitter rivals.

“Fans can expect a very high level of women’s hockey,” stated Brown.

“These ladies are some of the highest level athletes in Canada. Alberta has eight college and university women’s hockey teams, second in the country only to Ontario. Players are recruited from all over Canada and the US to play here. These two teams could be the top two teams in the ACAC league. The game will be fast and physical. They are bitter rivals with a lot of history,” added Brown.

Brown said the game will be an outdoor experience in Alberta’s winter, so plan accordingly.

“The weather can be unpredictable,” he stated.

“Bring blankets and lots of warm clothing. There are bleachers set up and there will be a tent for fans to warm up in.”

Tickets for the game will be available at Coach’s Source for Sports in Wetaskiwin and The Falun Co-op.

Brown noted any special ticket requests can be sent to nbrown@persona.ca. People can visit placesociety.com for ticket and event details.

In the event of inclement weather, the game will be played at Wetaskiwin’s Twin Arena’s/Civic Centre.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

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