Over 120 female players between the ages of 5 and 13 came together on Friday afternoon to meet their team mates, come up with some cool team names and listen to some aspiring guest speakers. The host of the fun filled afternoon was Sara Olesiak who brought to the group to a fever pitch with introductions of each team. Some of the team names that came out of the wood work were The Ice Devils, The Yellow Jackets , The Blue Destroyers , The Bullets and many more.
Once all the teams were the introduced the young players had a chance to listen to some really great speakers. Melanie Jue, Female Jamboree Alumnist spoke highly of the jamboree program and recalled playing at the Jamboree over 10 years ago when she was knee high to a grasshopper and how she had many fond memories of playing in the non competitive weekend tournament.
Next up was Gina Kingsbury Gina who was returning for her second time at the jamboree and is a two-time Gold medalist, competing with the Canadian women’s hockey team in Torino and Vancouver. She has also won 3 gold medals and 3 silver medals playing for Team Canada at the World Championships and is now retired from playing hockey, and coaches at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton. Gina entertained the players and parents alike with an aspiring story of her journey through minor hockey all the way to the Olympics.
The night continued with all the teams playing some fun filled, energetic team building games led by Elisa Maruzzo who currently studies at UBC and is a huge a hockey enthusiasts who really enjoys volunteering her time to help grow the game hockey. The night concluded with all the players and parents getting a chance to interact with Gina along with dawning her gold medals, a great memory for all.
Now it was game time. The teams slowly converged on Burnaby 8 rinks for two days of fun and sportsmanship. It was a great way to spend the weekend said a number of the attending parents, with the games ending by noon and the weather being so nice it really gave some the out of town players a chance to get around Vancouver and see some of its beautiful sights.
The Female Jamboree is a grassroots development program for females who already have experience playing hockey as well as for girls who would be playing for the first time. The Jamboree is not a highly competitive tournament; rather, it's a fun day of learning more about hockey and making new friends.
All players receive equal ice time and the emphasis is on fair play and sportsmanship. Special thanks to BC Hockey, Burnaby 8 Rinks, Fin and all the support staff who helped out over the weekend to make this years Canucks BC Hockey Female Jamboree a great success.
For more information about Canucks First Strides and other programs offered by the Canucks Centre for BC Hockey, visit Canucks.com/grassroots.