Friday, May 31, 2024

Women’s hockey, a successful first step towards recognition

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Alan Binder
Alan Binder
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More important than medals, the bottom line of this competition is that they are all pioneers in the sport in more ways than one. This is the first women’s tournament to be approved by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the first to feature an all-female management team.

“The atmosphere in Green Bay was amazing and the energy of the athletes for the sport is infectious,” said Michelle Laflame, director of para hockey at the International Paralympic Committee. In every match we also attract new fans of the sport.

Sports fans will remember the movie clip field of dreams The main character, played by Kevin Costner, hears a voice telling him: They build it and they will come When he walks in his field. So he set up a stadium and baseball legends in the past come to play there.

Well, IPC that runs the sport through its Para Ice Hockey Committee has used the same approach to develop women’s hockey with the stated goal of bringing it into the 2030 Games.

I’ve always been a huge fan of the model: you build it and they come. “So, I’m very happy that it finally happened,” said Tara Chisholm, head coach of the Canadian team. Without an annual event that can be planned, it is difficult to motivate a new country to put in all the efforts needed to create a program. Having women on a regular schedule will henceforth be the biggest key to maintaining the international momentum.

The tournament organizers did an excellent job of teaching all teams the different protocols and procedures for Para sport. You have the classification, equipment inspection, delegate meetings, etc. It was important to the growth of the sport.

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A total of 54 women managed to be ranked this week, the highest number ever to be included in the system. The Para Ice Hockey Committee has already reported receiving emails and messages from women around the world who want to participate in the next year.

We hope that the athletes and teams will take back what they have learned back to their countries and that the event will help attract new players, [de nouveaux] The coaches and officials,” said Ms. Laflamme. The aim of the event is to develop the game in the long-term, with the ultimate goal of winning the Women’s World Championship.

Rafael Tosinant

Photo: Charlie Skinner/WPIH

Returning to the activities on the ice, Canada lost 5-1 to the United States in the final. Raphael Tossenant, of Terpon, was the only one to defeat the American goalkeeper. She finished third in scoring with five goals and two assists. The Canadians played very well. Most of the players are still young and have not had the opportunity to face their southern neighbors on several occasions.

Team World beat Great Britain 5-0. The 13 international players came from 7 countries. Cindy Ole and two other Quebecers were part of this team. Ole scored a goal and assist in the victory.

Still looking for recognition at home

The Canadian team is still not recognized by the Canadian government or by Hockey Canada and does not receive any financial support. The program is implemented remotely by a group of volunteers.

Team Canada’s athletes mentor other disabled girls and women and their coaches volunteer their time, not only with the athletes, but also around the world trying to promote women’s paragraph hockey in order to provide athletes with the vision and opportunity to participate in the Paralympics.

It’s a huge contradiction given that Team USA is backed by USA Hockey.

We plan to meet the big bodies and press for their support for the World Championships in 2025Chisholm said.

To date, the funds to participate in competitions or to conduct training camps come from fundraising or donations.

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