The Rise of Women’s Hockey in the Forces
Women of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) took to the ice in the 2017 Quebec Region Hockey Tournament held at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Valcartier from 16 to 20 January. Teams from Bagotville, Valcartier, Montreal and the National Capital Region (NCR) took part in the tournament to determine which team will represent the Quebec region at the CAF National Women’s Hockey Tournament at CFB Borden in March.
The event kicked off with a meet-and-greet where all the players and coaches mingled while taking in a meal. “These events reunite former teammates, colleagues and friends from throughout our careers,” said Corporal Brenna Hodgins, team captain for the NCR. “Special bonds are made through CAF sports. We play hard against each other on the ice but at the end of the day we know that we are all part of the same team.”
The CAF Sports Program plays a prominent role in promoting fitness and good health within the military community. “Sports promote teamwork, esprit de corps, loyalty, and commitment,” said Johanne Morin, Acting Fitness and Sports Manager at CFB Valcartier. “Sporting events such as this regional tournament not only inspire CAF members to improve their physical fitness but are also of benefit to their mental health. The enjoyment that comes with participating in sport provides a positive sense of well-being. It’s the good times that help us balance the challenges we face in life.”
After round-robin play in the Quebec tournament, CFB Valcartier edged out team NCR in a shoot-out to earn the top spot. In second place was the NCR, followed by Montreal and in last, Bagotville. The NCR won in the semi’s against a strong Montreal team, and Valcartier cruised to the finals defeating the hard working team from Bagotville. The final game between Valcartier and Ottawa was a 1-0 Valcartier lead for the majority of play. The NCR battled hard but near the end of the third, Valcartier scored another two goals winning the gold and the ultimate prize of going to the national tournament.
Other regional tournaments are held in bases across the country to determine the teams that will represent Pacific, Prairie, Ontario, and Atlantic regions at the national tournament. All five regions will go head-to-head in what has become an outstanding display of women’s hockey. “It’s our Stanley Cup,” said Captain Marie-Hélène Marseille, team captain for Bagotville. “To make it to nationals is an achievement and a highlight of our time in the Forces.”
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