Para Ice Hockey Women's World Challenge
31 August – 3 September

White urges for more 'people of colour' in sport

Canada rout Great Britain 9-0, USA outplay Team World 7-0 03 Sep 2023
Alyssa White of Canada (centre) in action during the Green Bay 2023 Women's World Challenge.
Alyssa White of Canada in action at the Green Bay 2023 Women's World Challenge.
By Stuart Lieberman | For World Para Ice Hockey

Alyssa White still recalls watching Para ice hockey for the first time on TV during the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

“I was very young at the time so couldn’t start playing hockey yet, but knew that I wanted to try it. As soon as I got the opportunity, I jumped on it and fell in love real fast,” she said. “I love the competitiveness and teamwork. I used to be a swimmer, but ultimately, nothing compares to hockey.”

White scored two goals in Canada’s 9-0 win over Great Britain on Saturday (2 September) to help advance her team to the gold-medal game of the Para Ice Hockey Women’s World Challenge for the second consecutive year in Green Bay, Wisconsin. 

Her rise to the international ice has been more rapid than most.

She’s a phenom. A prodigy. A pioneer.

And hoping to be a Paralympian one day.

White was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on May 5, 2005 (5/5/5) with spina bifida that affects her lower legs, and appropriately dons No. 5 on the back of her jersey. In 2019, she became the youngest member to make the Canadian women’s national team at the time at age 14.

Now 18 and a veterinary student at the University of Manitoba, she realises the significance of being a woman of colour in Para ice hockey and the power she holds to inspire others who look like her to take up the sport.

White receives her own inspiration from role model Sarah Nurse, who in 2022 became the first black woman to win Olympic gold in women’s hockey and set the single-tournament points record at the Beijing Games.

“She is such a big advocate for people of colour. As someone of colour, I think it’s it’s really important to have representation in our sport,” White said. “There are not many of people of colour in our sport yet, so I want to be out there and be a role model for anybody else. It doesn’t matter your skin colour or gender.”

In Green Bay, Canada lit up the scoreboard in the first period against Great Britain with six goals, including three goals in a nearly two-minute span. Raphaelle Tousignant and Vanessa Racine both scored twice, and White and Alannah Mah also found the net. White scored again in the second stanza, and then in the third Myriam Adam tallied a score and Racine completed her hat trick.

Canadian goaltenders Tracey Arnold and Marie-Eve Croteau combined for the shoutout while Great Britain’s Susi Rogers-Hartley recorded 20 saves.

“It’s obviously very exciting, but we’re still really looking to push ourselves out there as the ultimate end goal is gold,” said White, as Canada now prepares to face USA in the gold-medal game.

Team World no match for USA

The USA remained undefeated in Green Bay and advanced to the gold-medal game with a 7-0 win against Team World. 

Catherine Faherty and Lera Doederlein scored within in the first 48 seconds of the game, and then Madeleine Gallagher and Herchenroether both found the net later in the opening period to give the U.S. a four-goal advantage at the first intermission. 

Jamie Benassi and Robynne Hill padded the Americans’ lead with scores in the second, and Gallagher added an insurance goal in the third. 

Gabby Graves-Wake and Hope Bevilhymer split the goaltending duties for the US, recording the shutout, while Mirenda Rest of Germany stopped the puck 12 times for Team World. 

“It’s a really great feeling to finish undefeated and be going for gold here,” said 16-year-old Gallagher, the youngest player on the US roster and one of five under the age of 19. “We’ve started to work a lot better as a team, working on our systems more, which has made me a much better player. We’ve worked so hard in our practices and always want to best. We’re determined to become the next superstars.”

Competition will wrap up in Green Bay on Sunday (3 September) beginning with Team World against Great Britain in the bronze-medal game at 11:00 local time followed by USA versus Canada in the gold-medal game at 15:00.

Citi is the presenting sponsor of the event as part of the IPC’s PARA SPORT grassroots to high performance programme. The ultimate goal is to expand female participation in Para ice hockey worldwide and one day add it to the Paralympic Winter Games programme.

The second edition of the Women's World Challenge is being streamed live on the Green Bay 2023 website and World Para Ice Hockey Facebook page. More information and complete schedule and results can be found here