A record 147 locations across the U.S. participated in the fourth annual International Ice Hockey Federation World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend this past Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 11-12).
“It’s terrific to see our country get behind this initiative like it has,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. “Our passionate volunteer base did a tremendous job of helping celebrate this year's event and continues to influence the growth of girls and women’s hockey.”
The 147 locations that participated marked the most of any country in the world and also eclipsed the previous U.S. high of 120 sites established last year.
Olympians Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho) and Anne Schleper (St. Cloud, Minn.), helped bring national visibility to IIHF World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend by skating in practices with the Anaheim Ducks (Knight) and Tampa Bay Lightning (Schleper) and also participating in other event-related activities.
In all, 35 states hosted events such as youth hockey clinics, hockey jamborees, Try Hockey for Free opportunities, female-only tournaments, introductory information sessions about the sport and other hockey-themed gatherings with support from teams in the NHL, AHL, NCAA and USHL as well as USA Hockey affiliates and local associations.
NOTES: Participation in girls and women’s hockey in the United States has increased by more than 30% in the past decade and now has in excess of 67,000 registered players … Hilary Knight participated in a one-hour Twitter takeover of USA Hockey’s account on Tuesday, Oct. 7 as part of the promotion for IIHF World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. The associated hashtag was trending third overall in the U.S. during the 60-minute session … The IIHF World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend is an opportunity to celebrate female participation in the sport. The goal of the event is to grow the game through a variety of events that aim to introduce beginners to basic skills in a positive, fun and safe environment; provide more opportunities to play ice hockey; teach fair play, sportsmanship and teamwork; create new friendships; and develop a lifelong love of the sport. More than 340 events took place this past weekend in 32 countries around the world.