CALGARY – In less than a week, the Markin MacPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park will be buzzing as the top eight women's hockey teams in the country assemble for the 2015 Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship, hosted by the University of Calgary Dinos.
Fans will be treated to the very best CIS women's hockey has to offer through 11 games over the four-day event, which runs March 12-15 at the International 'A' Arena, culminating with the national championship game Sunday, March 15 at 6 p.m. Sportsnet One will broadcast the semi-finals and the final live nationally. Tournament passes are on sale for just $50 by visiting www.godinos.com/tickets.
The host Dinos will open the tournament Thursday night with their quarterfinal at 7 p.m.
Seven of the eight teams in the field are confirmed, with the Dinos joined by Atlantic finalists Moncton and St. Francis Xavier, Quebec finalists McGill and Montreal, and Ontario finalists Guelph and Western. The final team will be the Canada West champion, with Alberta set to face Manitoba in a best-of-three series this coming weekend.
The final tournament seedings and schedule will be unveiled Monday morning.
It's the first time Calgary has hosted the CIS women's hockey championship since 2001, and Dinos head coach Danielle Goyette has her team ready to challenge the field.
"Hosting the national championship was one of the key things we set out to do when Joan Snyder gave us her generous donation in 2011, and we're excited that the opportunity is in front of us," said Dinos head coach Danielle Goyette, whose team returns to the national tournament for the third time in four years. "It's a great opportunity for our team to represent our city and our university, and every time you go to a national championship, every team has a chance to win. It's a new experience to be playing at home in front of friends and family, and student-athletes don't always get the chance to play at this level. It's something we will not take for granted."
In addition to the championship tournament itself, the weekend will be a celebration of the female game. Hockey Canada will host a free event on Thursday morning for female university students in the city to learn the game, while Girls Hockey Calgary is hosting the Bantam A and Peewee A girls provincial championships at Winsport over the same four-day window.
"We hope this weekend is about more than just the national championship and will really help shine the spotlight on female hockey," said Goyette, who won two Olympic gold medals as a player and carried the Canadian flag into the opening ceremony at Turin 2006. "We have tried to involve everyone from the grassroots all the way to university-level players. They'll be playing at a facility that is one of the best in the world, where Hockey Canada and our national team make their homes. We hope this will inspire the young players to one day be part of Team Canada."
The Dinos will also host the 2016 CIS championship.
2015 CIS WOMEN'S HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
Tournament Schedule (all games at the International 'A' Arena, Markin MacPhail Centre)
Wednesday, March 11
7 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Team practices
6 p.m. Sun Life Financial All-Canadian Banquet, Markin MacPhail Centre
Thursday, March 12
3 p.m. Quarterfinal 1
7 p.m. Quarterfinal 2 (Dinos game)
Friday, March 13
11 a.m. Consolation semi-final 1
3 p.m. Quarterfinal 3
7 p.m. Quarterfinal 4
Saturday, March 14
11 a.m. Consolation semi-final 2
3 p.m. Semi-final 1 (Sportsnet One)
6:30 p.m. Semi-final 2 (Sportsnet One)
Sunday, March 15
11 a.m. Consolation Final (5th place)
2:30 p.m. Bronze Medal Game
6 p.m. Gold Medal Game (Sportsnet One, Sportsnet 360)