Tournament draws 800 players to Surrey for more than just hockey
Surrey, BC | Thousands of spectators gathered in Surrey January 31 to February 3, 2019 to catch the highly-anticipated Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival (WickFest) at the Surrey Sport and Leisure Centre and Newton arena. After nine successful years in Calgary, the festival announced the expansion to Surrey in the spring of 2018 and sold out quickly, registering over 800 female athletes from 48 teams from around the world.
“The turnout for this event, both from the players and the spectators, demonstrates that this festival not only creates development opportunities for our youth, but brings the community together through sport, while supporting the local economy,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Hosting high-profile events like WickFest gives us the opportunity to highlight our state-of-the-art facilities and advances Surrey as a leader in the sport tourism industry. We look forward to hosting this event again next year.”
For the 800 female athletes in attendance, WickFest was more than just playing great hockey. The young female athletes attended a variety of workshops led by celebrity athletes, designed to build leadership skills. With a focus on building both the player and the person, the all-star lineup of instructors included six-time Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser, and Olympic Gold Medalist, Kaillie Humpries.
Surrey Fire Services also led two workshops over the weekend, highlighting the importance of diversity within both hockey teams – and within its own team. Increasing the number of female firefighters in Surrey is a priority. John Lehmann, Fire Chief and hiring manager, urged the youth to consider roles within Surrey Fire Services in the future. Teams were put through drill exercises, had the chance to try on fire uniforms, and had mentorship with Shelley Morris, Surrey Deputy Fire Chief.
WickFest will return to Surrey in 2020, with plans to host at the newly-developed North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex, scheduled for completion in Fall 2019. For more information, visit surrey.ca/events
Hockey Canada Foundation Assist Fund To Provide $1 Million To Help Young Canadians Return To Hockey
Canadian families impacted by COVID-19 can apply now for registration fee subsidies
The Hockey Canada Foundation has launched its new $1 million Assist Fund to provide registration fee subsidies for qualified Canadians who are registered with Hockey Canada-sanctioned associations for the 2020-21 season.
“As a prominent national sports organization in the country, it’s Hockey Canada’s mission to lead, develop and promote positive hockey experiences,” said Tom Renney, chief executive officer of Hockey Canada. “It’s a goal that’s more important than ever, as COVID-19 has had a challenging impact on so many young people from coast-to-coast-to-coast.”
The Hockey Canada Foundation Assist Fund allows Canadians who meet the criteria and need a financial hockey assist to apply for up to $500 in registration fee reimbursements per player, provided the registration is with a Hockey Canada-sanctioned association.
To enhance the impact and support for local communities, Canadians can also donate to the Assist Fund, with 100% of all donated funds reaching young Canadians. The Hockey Canada Foundation will absorb all administration costs associated with the fund. Donations can be made at HockeyCanada.ca/AssistFund.
A line-up of hockey heroes is championing the Hockey Canada Foundation Assist Fund. All three have provided and known the importance of assists and community support, on and off the ice.
- Jarome Iginla (St. Albert, Alta.) – Hockey Canada alumnus, member of the Class of 2020 for the Hockey Hall of Fame, two-time Olympic gold medallist (2002, 2010), gold medallist at the 1997 IIHF World Championship, gold medallist at the 1996 IIHF World Junior Championship and provider of one of the most famous assists in Canadian hockey history, on the Golden Goal by Sidney Crosby at 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver
- Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que.) – Captain of Canada’s National Women’s Team, two-time Olympic gold medallist (2010, 2014) and gold medallist at the 2012 IIHF Women’s World Championship
- Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) – Member of Canada’s National Para Hockey Team, gold medallist at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games and four-time gold medallist at the IPC World Para Hockey Championship (2008, 2011, 2013, 2017)
The Assist Fund was born from the ongoing commitment of the many partners of Hockey Canada and the Hockey Canada Foundation, including Bauer, BDO, Berkshire Hathaway, BFL CANADA, Canadian Tire, Chevrolet, CN, Hankook, Nike, OK Tire, Premium Brands, Scotiabank, TELUS, TIMBER MART, Tim Hortons, TSN and RDS.
“With job losses and reduced incomes affecting so many, young Canadians need our help more than ever to get back into hockey,” said Donna Iampieri, executive director of the Hockey Canada Foundation. “Our Assist Fund and the support of our amazing athletes and sponsors represents our combined ongoing commitment to providing access to the game.”
For more information about the Hockey Canada Assist Fund, or to apply or donate, visit HockeyCanada.ca/AssistFund.
About Hockey Canada
Hockey Canada is the governing body for hockey in Canada and a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), with a membership through its 13 member associations of over 750,000 players, coaches and officials.
Hockey Canada is a not-for-profit organization that creates leading-edge hockey development programs for its members to deliver in communities across Canada; provides consistent rules and regulations and various other membership services from coast to coast to coast; manages numerous regional, national and international hockey championships and events; and leads the operation of all teams that represent Canada in international competition.
Hockey Canada’s mission is to lead, develop and promote positive hockey experiences. For more information on Hockey Canada, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow through social media on Facebook and Twitter.
Fraser Downs Reopens for the Fall/Winter Season
After six long months, Fraser Downs racetrack is excited to announce the start of their Fall/Winter season! Located in Cloverdale, Fraser Downs racetrack is home to some of the fastest and most promising harness racing teams in the country. After having to close the racetrack back in March, the Harness Racing community was forced to put their lives on hold and wait for an update on the COVID-19 situation.
Fortunately for the fans, the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation and the horsemen at Fraser Downs were able to reach an agreement that allowed stabled horses to practice on the track starting April, which meant less time lost for training. The practice sessions were to follow strict COVID-19 precautions, which remain in place today and limit the capacity and regulate the standards of the Elements Casino and the racing facility.
Abiding by these limitations, the local Harness Racing community has been able to practice and stay in shape leading up their competitive debut. The training has allowed some peace of mind for the owners, trainers, and horses who have been eager to get an actual race in motion. After many months of practice, the Fraser Downs racing community participated in their first official race of the Fall/Winter season – taking place on September 30th.
The nine-race card took place at 5:00 pm and was the sole Harness race across Canada – shining a spotlight on the Fraser Downs community. Following this kick-off race, Fraser Down continues to host two races per week – Wednesday nights at 5:00 pm PST and Friday nights at 8:00 pm PST. The races are running every week, from September through to late December, weather permitting.
Much like many racetracks across Canada, Fraser Downs will start its Fall-Winter without an audience, but they will be allowing one owner per racehorse to attend.
Fans who are eager to make their bets can watch the races online through streaming services and race apps HPI Bet and Dark Horse. These apps offer a safe solution so that viewers may watch, wager, and win – all from the safety of their own home!
City of Surrey resumes issuing permits for outdoor sport facilities
The City of Surrey will resume issuing permits for outdoor sport facility bookings effective today, June 17. Surrey’s outdoor sport facilities that are available for permitting include 15 artificial turf fields, 101 sports fields, 95 ball diamonds, 3 running tracks, 6 volleyball courts and 5 lacrosse boxes.
“The camaraderie and friendships that are intrinsic to team sports have been put on hold as we fight COVID-19,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “However, the collective progress we have made to flatten the curve means that the City of Surrey can resume issuing permits for our outdoor sports facilities. While I am very pleased that we can take this step, it is important that all participants, sport groups and teams follow the COVID-19 safety guidelines before, during and after play.”
All local sport organizations who have COVID-19 safety plans in place that have been approved by their applicable governing body may contact the City at 604-501-5174 or BookaField@surrey.ca to obtain a permit.
Visitors and sport groups are reminded to help keep outdoor sport facilities open by staying home if sick, staying 2 metres apart from others, practicing individual skills and cleaning hands and equipment often. Small groups of residents, including adults and children, playing informally are requested to give way to organized play where the participating teams and individuals are operating with a valid permit.
The decision to reopen these services is aligned with Phase Two of the British Columbia Re-Start Plan, emphasizing outdoor recreation spaces as a safe environment, and stressing “appropriate personal hygiene practices before, during and after outdoor play”.
Canada Is Starting to Show Its Strength In Sports Aside From Hockey
It’s no surprise that Canada has been seeing a lot of victories in sports other than hockey. From the Toronto Raptors winning the 2019 NBA championship, tennis champion Bianca Andreescu winning the US Open in 2019 and the women’s soccer and basketball team qualifying for the 2020 summer olympics.
2019 was a great year for Canadian sports franchises and athletes. It was the year that the world got the opportunity to see how great Canadian athletes are and how sports in Canada is on the rise.
It was also the year the world got the chance to see how Canada is beginning to make more opportunities for the growth of other sports.
Canada is known for the game of ice hockey and hockey will always be the heart of the country, it’s a sport that brings many people together.
But as time goes by, more sports options need to be made available.
The people want to see a more diverse range of sports and they want to see their fellow Canadians succeeding in it.
Take soccer and basketball for example, these sports aren’t as big in Canada and while Canada does have various MLS leagues, it’s not as big as the leagues in South America and Europe.
Even with basketball, Canada only has one NBA team and although it’s a very talented team, it wasn’t until the Raptors won the championship that the rest of the world saw how talented the team is.
“I think it’s a huge deal that we see success in sports like [soccer, tennis and basketball] because when kids … see success like that at the national level, it gets them really excited about sports,” says Beverly Wake, sports journalist and KPU instructor .
“We’ve seen participation rates in basketball in particular in Toronto really climb as the Raptors have been successful. And in tennis, since Milos Raunic and Eugenie Bouchard… they started having success on the pro circuit,” says Wake. “so you see the success of a Raunic, … Bouchard…, now we have Bianca Andreescu too, last year winning the US Open, and I think we’ll continue to see tennis participation rates rise as well because they’re role models for kids, they see what’s possible through them.” she adds.
Wake also mentions the Toronto Raptors team and how successful they’ve been in the past years and their recent franchise record of 15 straight wins. This is also the best for any Canadian sports franchise.
Although not a lot of Canadian athletes take up the roster space, it’s still a Canadian based team.
The success from the Canadian sports team is clearly inspiring for many Canadians who are watching, especially the kids who enjoy sports and hope to play professionally in the future.
“We’ve been known as a hockey country for so long around the world and that’s … a hard stereotype to shake, but I think we’re starting to be seen as a country that actually has athletes that are really good at a lot of sports,” Wake says.
She goes on to highlight great Canadian athletes like Bianca Andreescu, Brooke Henderson, and the great team of women who qualified for Soccer and [basketball] at the summer olympics.
The important thing to note is that this is only a small amount of the great athletes and sports championships Canada has to offer, as time goes by the championships and athletes will increase and spread into other sports.
Celebrity Sledge Hockey Game at Surrey’s newest arena
Featuring Hayley Wickenheiser and the Humboldt Broncos’ Ryan Straschnitzki
Surrey, BC – Today, over 500 fans gathered at the North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex today for a celebrity sledge hockey game, hosted by Hayley Wickenheiser and Humboldt Broncos’ Ryan Straschnitzki, during Canadian Tire WickFest. Prior to the puck drop, the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) announced that the new facility has achieved RHF Certified Gold, being the first arena in Canada to receive this designation.
“This certification illustrates our commitment to investing in facilities and programs that are accessible for everyone,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Today’s celebrity sledge hockey game was a great example of how sport brings people together, regardless of ability. It was fantastic to see the community come together to celebrate this significant achievement during WickFest. I want to personally thank the Rick Hansen Foundation for recognizing that Surrey is working diligently to continually improve universal access across our city.”
This year’s tournament marked WickFest’s second year in Surrey, which expanded from 800 young female athletes to 1500, as a result of the increased capacity for ice and meeting space at the new North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex. The crowds cheered as Wickenheiser and local celebrities faced off in a friendly game of sledge hockey with Humboldt Broncos’ Ryan Straschnitzki, who is training to make Canada’s Para-ice hockey team for the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.
“WickFest is more than a hockey tournament,” said Hayley Wickenheiser. “Our vision is to develop our players for their lives on and off the ice, through workshops and unique experiences, like this celebrity sledge hockey game. I know that our young players left with a better understanding of why inclusion and accessibility in sport is so important, which will inspire more understanding throughout our communities. Surrey is certainly leading the way in accessibility, and I congratulate them in this significant achievement with the Rick Hansen Foundation.”
Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility CertificationTM (RHFAC) rates sites on several criteria which look at the various needs of individuals with disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing. The City of Surrey has 43 rated civic facilities, including 29 that have been RHF Accessibility Certified, and five that have achieved RHF Accessibility Certified Gold.
“Congratulations to the City of Surrey on achieving Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certified Gold for the North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex. Sport is a mirror to how we view ourselves. Regardless of physical ability, everyone should have an opportunity to participate in sport. This is the fifth site in the City of Surrey to achieve Gold certification, and I hope it will inspire communities across the country to continue to set the bar higher!” Rick Hansen, Founder, Rick Hansen Foundation.
The City of Surrey offers a variety of adapted programs and services. Para Ice Hockey sleds and equipment are available at both the Surrey Sport and Leisure Complex and North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, allowing everyone to participate in public skates and programs. The para ice hockey program is just one of the programs and services that the City of Surrey offers to make the community inclusive and accessible for everyone.
For more information on Surrey’s adapted programs, click here.
For a special video message from Rick Hansen, click here.
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