Women’s pro hockey coming to Whistler 

Wickenheiser, Campbell, Granato some of the big names helping raise funds for minor hockey

Some of the top women’s hockey players in the world will be on the ice on Friday, Dec. 3 when the puck drops at Meadow Park arena. The featured teams are the home B.C. Breakers, who will be taking on the Calgary Oval X-Treme in a charity game, with the proceeds going to the Whistler Minor Hockey Association.

Hockey fans, missing the NHL, are going to be impressed by the lineups for both teams. Calgary, which has a perfect record after three games, features Olympic gold medal winners Hayley Wickenheiser, Cassie Campbell and Danielle Goyette. Goyette and Wickenheiser have already combined for 26 points in those three wins.

The B.C. Breakers squad, winless in three games this season against Calgary, features U.S. captain Cammi Granato, as well as some of the top players from the temporarily sidelined Vancouver Griffins of the North West Hockey League.

The is the inaugural year for the Western Women’s Hockey League, a pro league for women with five teams based in Vancouver, Minnesota, Edmonton, Calgary and Saskatchewan.

It’s also the first year for the Whistler Winterhawks girls hockey team, which is playing in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. Those girls are going to be watching closely, says Whistler Atom League Manager Kim Martin.

"It’s great for us, Whistler Minor Hockey, and for all the girls who’ll get to see these players on their home ice. These are the players they’ll look up to, and what hopefully some of them will aspire to," said Martin.

"I think girls hockey is really coming into its own," she added. "Female hockey teams are seeing a huge growth right now in every association across Canada, more than any other aspect of minor hockey, and our national team is a big part of the reason why. Just look at the hockey talent, with their nine world cups, another Olympic win…. We have the strongest coaching, and the strongest development in the sport. It has a huge affect on the girls and definitely builds some excitement in the sport."

Organizers are expecting a sell out. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for youth 17 and under and free for kids under the age of six, and are available at Meadow Park Sports Centre.

In addition to a share of the ticket sales, the Whistler Minor Hockey Association will benefit from a 50/50 draw, a puck toss, and a silent auction of autographed team sticks and an Olympic jersey.

The puck drops at 6:30 p.m., and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information on the Western Women’s Hockey League, visit www.westernwomenshockeyleague.com.

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