World Para Ice Hockey has announced that the first-ever Para Ice Hockey Women’s World Challenge presented by Citi will take place from 26-28 August in Green Bay, Wisconsin in the USA this year.
Four teams — Canada, Great Britain, USA and a Team World comprised of athletes from different nations — are set to compete in a round-robin style tournament followed by a medal round.
The event will be the next stepping stone on the road to an eventual Women’s World Championship, with the ultimate goal of expanding female participation in Para ice hockey worldwide.
Michelle Laflamme, World Para Ice Hockey Manager, said:
“World Para Ice Hockey is thrilled to take this next step in developing women’s Para ice hockey worldwide, creating a tournament that will showcase the sport while also attracting new athletes to the ice and establishing a long-term pipeline to grow the game. We are doing everything we can to create more and more opportunities for women’s national teams to showcase their talent, and for individuals or programmes new to the sport to obtain the skills to develop their game further.”
Brad Roethlisberger, Co-Chair of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), said:
“Green Bay and the entire state of Wisconsin is excited to host the first-ever event in Green Bay. The Discover Green Bay organisation and State of Wisconsin Tourism group have been very instrumental in reaching out to the community to build excitement and providing funding to make the necessary rink adaptations to host such an event. Knowing this event will be the first step to having women’s Para ice hockey to be recognized as a Paralympic event brings an added level of excitement to hosting this competition.”
“This is a powerful step toward establishing the first women's World Championships. At Citi, we are committed to leveraging our scale and partnerships like these to help advance gender equity across the globe,” said Ryan Djabbarah, Citi’s Global Head of Sponsorships, Entertainment & Experiential.
“We’re proud to work with World Para Ice Hockey to launch this new competition that aims to increase female engagement in the sport and change perceptions of people with disabilities,” Djabbarah added.
Changing the narrative
The tournament will take place at Green Bay’s Cornerstone Community Center, which was built in 2000 as an ice hockey and skating venue, and has held several large events including a dog show, roller derby and the U.S. National Curling Championships.
The event will be sponsored by Citi as part of the IPC’s new PARA SPORT grassroots to high performance programme, which aims to change the narrative around people with disabilities and provide Para athletes and their member organisations with a platform to drive social progress. Through this event, Citi will focus on Para ice hockey and helping to grow the women’s side of the game.
Individual athletes looking to register for Team World may contact World Para Ice Hockey info@WorldParaIceHockey.org for more information on.