The newly formed West Central Wildcats bantam female team won their division title at the annual Hayley Wickenheiser International Women’s Hockey Festival last weekend in thrilling fashion.
The team, made up of players from Sylvan Lake, Rocky Mountain House and Spruce View, went undefeated through round-robin play, knocking off teams from Alberta and British Columbia before meeting up with Airdrie in the final game.
The team competes in the Rocky Mountain Female Hockey League and currently sits in third place, despite only losing one game. With a break in league play, the Wildcats travelled to Calgary to take in the four-day female hockey event known as Wickfest. The girls defeated Warburg 7-0, Airdrie 3-2 and Burnaby 2-0 and 1-0 to make the Championship game. Despite heavily outshooting Airdrie in the final, the Wildcats found themselves tied 0-0 through 59 minutes. After many anxious moments, a great steal at the offensive blue line with under a minute left provided the girls the break they needed. After a shot and a goal mouth scramble, the Wildcats scored with just 26 seconds left in the game to win the game 1-0. The win was a gritty team effort and should help provide the girls with much needed experience of playing in and winning big games.
Hayley Wickenheiser addressed the team after the big win, expressing how exciting the final few minutes were, and posed for one last picture with the teams. The event featured an opening ceremony, countless on-ice and off-ice training sessions, special guests Meaghan Mikkelson and Natalie Spooner, host Hayley Wickenheiser, and a concert performance from country singing star Dean Brody. Additionally, the team was able to enjoy some downtime when they were picked up for a team joy ride in a limousine.
Great fun and an amazing hockey experience was had by all the girls. The weekend truly is a celebration of female hockey with 80 teams in all divisions and teams travelling from as far as Mexico to compete.