|Two-time Olympic gold medallist Sami Jo Small brings her passion for the game to Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest at Scotiabank Place.
Sharing her passion for hockey is a big deal to Sami Jo Small.
More than 200 young players will feel the Olympic gold medal touch on Saturday, when the eighth annual Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest is held at Scotiabank Place. The event, open to minor girl players aged 7 to 14, runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
All on-ice skills sessions will be directed by university women's players from the Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gees programs but they'll also get plenty of guidance from Small, whose goaltending efforts helped Canada win two Olympic gold medals (in 2002 and 2006) and five world championships. The two-time worlds MVP was also a co-founder of the Canadian Women's Hockey League, showing her dedication to growing the female game.
Events like Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest further fuel Small's athletic passion.
"It means a great deal to an athlete to be surrounded by people who share a passion for your sport," she said. "Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest offers young female athletes the rare chance to come together to learn about and celebrate hockey. It is going to be a great day that will show the girls just what they are capable of with the right training and encouragement."
The day-long affair also fits in well with the Ottawa Senators' goal to bring the game to as many people as possible throughout Hockey Country. It's also a group effort made possible by a trio of strong partners.
"We’re pleased once again to host Scotiabank Girls Hockeyfest at Scotiabank Place for the eighth year in a row," said Aaron Robinson, the Senators' director of fan and community development. "Since its inception, more than 2,500 girls have participated in the program to help develop on-ice and off-ice skills through the guidance and assistance of the Carleton Ravens and University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s hockey teams.
"Without the support of Scotiabank, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa hockey teams, providing female hockey players in the region with this fun and unique opportunity would not be possible."
Women's hockey figures to be a growing concern throughout the capital region over the next 15 months. Senators Sports & Entertainment will play host to both the IIHF World Women's Championship and the Ontario provincial championships in April 2013. But the road to events such as those starts with the kind of grassroots instruction that Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest provides.
"Canada is one of the leading countries in the world for women's hockey and that all starts with girls getting the training and support they need when they are developing their skills," said Senators president Cyril Leeder. "The Senators and Scotiabank Place are pleased to help bring Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest to the community, where the girls can learn the skills that they can carry with them throughout their lives, both on and off the ice."
To learn more about Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest, visit www.ottawasenators.com/girlshockeyfest