Women’s World Challenge: Where are they now

A closer look at some of the stars from the first edition last year in Green Bay 21 Jul 2023
 The Great Britain team that won the World Championships C-Pool title in Bangkok in December featuring four female players.
The Great Britain team that won the World Championships C-Pool title in Bangkok in December featuring four female players.
Ⓒ Thai Para Ice Hockey And Wheelchair Curling Association / WPIH
By Stuart Lieberman | For World Para Ice Hockey

With just over a month to go until the second edition of the World Para Ice Hockey Women’s World Challenge, let’s take a look at what some of the top stars in the sport have accomplished since they competed in the inaugural edition of the event last August.


This month, Erica McKee, captain of the US women’s team, became the first women’s Para ice hockey player to be nominated for a prestigious ESPY Award. The ESPYs are North America’s top annual sports awards show presented by ESPN, honouring sports, and athletic achievements both on an individual and team basis. McKee, who led the US to a gold medal and perfect 4-0 record at the Women’s World Challenge, was one of four finalists for the Best Athlete with a Disability award. 

McKee also skated in the 2022 USA Hockey Sled Classic, scoring one goal in two games in Irvine, California, and led her team to a third-place finish at the 2023 US Sled Hockey National Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Great Britain

It has been only two years since Great Britain launched their women’s Para ice hockey programme and received 63 replies upon making a public call for women with lower limb impairments. 

After making their international debut at the Women’s World Challenge last year, four members of the British squad went on to help Great Britain’s mixed gender national team win gold at the World Championships C-Pool in Bangkok, Thailand. Goaltender Jodi Hill, defender Leanne Emmerson, and forwards Dani Watts and Stacy Qurk were all part of the roster, making it the most women a national team has ever taken to a World Championships in the sport. 

As if that wasn’t enough history, Watts became the first woman to score a goal in the World Championships when she scored against Thailand, and Hill became the first goaltender to record a shutout between the pipes at the World Championships in the team’s win against Austria. 

The four women helped Great Britain finish the tournament undefeated and advance to the 2023 World Championships B-Pool. 


Raphaelle Tousignant, who led Canada to a silver medal at last year’s event with five goals and two assists, became a trailblazer this year when she became the first woman to compete on Canada’s national team at a World Para Ice Hockey Championships A-Pool. Her teammate, Alannah Mah, was also part of Canada’s mixed gender development squad and just missed out on a spot on the national team.

Tousignant, a 21-year-old rising star from Quebec, has dreamed of making the roster since she was 12 years old after overcoming a 12-hour surgery to remove her right leg, hip, and part of her pelvis due to bone cancer. Now, she is on track to potentially become only the fourth woman in history to compete in the sport at the Paralympics and hopes to one day bring her female teammates along with her. 

“Women deserve to be at the Paralympic Games, deserve to have their own team, deserve to compete at that level, too,” she told Hockey Canada earlier this year. “I hope that other little girls (across) Canada or around the world see me and they will say, ‘Hey, I want to be like her,’ because if they want to be like me, that means they’re going to work super hard and grow our game.”

All these athletes are expected to be in action again when the Women’s World Challenge presented by Citi returns to Green Bay, USA for a second consecutive year. The event will take place from 31 August to 3 September, featuring Canada, Great Britain, USA, Team Europe, and Team Asia. The tournament will serve as a steppingstone to an eventual Women’s World Championships in 2025. The ultimate goal is to expand female participation in Para ice hockey worldwide and one day add it to the Paralympic Winter Games programme.