World Para Ice Hockey has been announced the winner of the 2023 the IPC 2023 International Women’s Day Recognition Awards in the International Federation (IF) category.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced the winners in the four categories on 8 March (Wednesday) to mark the International Women’s Day.
The Awards, which the IPC has been running since 2013, primarily recognise women in the Paralympic Movement who inspire and emulate the Paralympic ideals and serve as positive role models. The winners were chosen by members of the IPC Governing Board following nominations from across the Paralympic membership.
The International Federation category recognises the leadership, impact and effective change initiated by IFs who promote and support equality and inclusion of women in sport.
“This award is a testament to the effort of many women on the ground, working hard to recruit and train new athletes,” said World Para Ice Hockey Manager, Michelle Laflamme. “We are proud to have provided a pathway to athletes, coaches and officials to join our amazing sport.”
“The 2022 Women’s World Challenge was a first and important step which could not have been achieved without the support of World Para Ice Hockey partner Citi and the city of Green Bay. We look forward to the next edition and we are excited to see new players participating,” Laflamme added.
The IPC statement on the award winners said:
World Para Ice Hockey (WPIH) had a landmark year in the development of the sport among female athletes, coaches, and officials. After recognizing the gender gap in athlete participation, WPIH shared with its members the WPIH Women’s Development Pathway in June 2021. The goal of the pathway being to add a women’s event in Para ice hockey at the Paralympic Winter Games.
To reach this goal, WPIH has set milestones for the 2022-2026 cycle. The first milestone was to host a recognised competition in 2022, 2023 and 2024 and to have the first ever Women’s World Championships in 2025.
As part of the newly launched PARA SPORT programme, WPIH created a new property and partnered with Citi to launch the inaugural Women’s World Challenge. This took place in Green Bay USA on 26-28 August 2022. As a direct result, the number of licensed women went from three in 2021 to 71 in 2022, and 61 of them participated in the tournament. Three national teams (Canada, Great Britain, USA) and combined team comprised of athletes from eight different countries competed in the three-day event. A total of 54 athletes were classified. Outside the field of play, the event had an all-women officiating crew with one technical delegate, eight on-ice officials, and one result manager.
World Para Ice Hockey created a tournament that showcased the sport while also attracting new athletes to the ice and establishing a long-term pipeline to grow the game.
Andrew Parsons, IPC President said: “A huge well done to the winners for their well-deserved recognition, and a thank you to all of those who entered the awards. We are excited that there are so many female advocates from across the world making the Paralympic Movement more inclusive and opening new opportunities for women.”
More information about the IPC 2023 International Women’s Day Recognition Awards can be found here.