On October 7th and 8th, 21 communities in Minnesota participated in the seventh annual IIHF World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. The weekend celebrates the massive strides that have been taken in both participation and player development for girls' hockey.
The weekend's festivities present the perfect opportunity for new girls and families to try hockey in a fun and safe environment while learning more about their local association, as well as encouraging the girls currently playing hockey to celebrate their passion for the game.
This year there were more than 300 events worldwide, spanning over 30 countries. Many of those events took place in the Midwest as Minnesota (21), Wisconsin (19) and Michigan (13) account for nearly half of the 120+ events in the United States and almost 20% of all events.
Below are a few highlights of events in Minnesota.
The Buffalo Bison hosted a bring-a-friend skating event on Sunday, October 8 as a part of World Girls Ice Hockey Weekend. Over 60 girls, ranging from new players ages 8 & Under to current high school players, attended the event and had the opportunity to skate with Gopher Women's hockey players Patti Marshall and Sophie Skarzynski and received an autographed team poster. Marshall and Skarzynski led the participants through games and activities on the ice while also making a point to give some of the newest skaters one-on-one attention.
The StormHawks participated in their third consecutive World Girls Ice Hockey Weekend on Sunday, October 8th at Chaska Community Center. A full day of activities was organized for all current skaters as well as girls interested in trying hockey. The events included a group breakfast, a scavenger hunt, shooting/stickhandling activities, varsity locker room tour, circuit training, a nutrition presentation and an open skate with former Minnesota State Maverick and German national team player, Anna Fiegert. Throughout the day, girls had opportunities to win a variety of prizes for participating.
Eden Prairie hosted its first World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend event on Sunday, October 8th at the Eden Prairie Community Center. Over 50 female athletes from Eden Prairie youth hockey and Girls HS teams, as well as 14 brand new skaters, participated in an open skating session and pizza party. The event was conducted in cooperation with the local Girl Scout's troop so all participants also received a skating badge!
Eden Prairie, MN
Bernicks Pepsi Arena and Sartell Youth Hockey Association hosted a girls try hockey for free as part of IIHF Girls’ Hockey Weekend on October 7th. Ten new girls attended the event and had the opportunity to skate with Julia Carle, goalie from Saint Benedict's Women's Hockey and players with Storm'n Sabres High School team.
The Sibley Area Youth Hockey Association added a unique twist to their World Girls Ice Hockey Weekend celebration. In an effort to appeal to current players and new families, Sibley used their hard ice dividers to separate the rink into two sheets of ice. On one side, players participated in a cross-ice pick-up game, and the other side of the ice sheet featured an open skating opportunity with music playing. They also provided giveaways and snacks to more than 50 girls who participated.
West St. Paul, MN
Willmar Youth Hockey, in cooperation with Willmar Civic Center and Willmar Community and Recreation, also hosted a try skating and try hockey event in Willmar to celebrate girls hockey weekend. The attendees, which included 17 total girls, had the opportunity to skate with Willmar Girls HS players and coaches.
For a full list of communities in Minnesota who hosted events in coordination with Girls' Hockey Weekend, click here.