Women’s hockey will be Hot on the Ice from May 11 to 13, when the Queens Place Emera Centre in Liverpool hosts the sixth annual tournament. Ten teams from across mainland Nova Scotia as well as a team from Cape Breton and New Brunswick will face off in a weekend of games.
The tournament is hosted by the Liverpool Lady Cougar team.
This Liverpool women’s hockey group began in October 2009 with a group of 12 players, says team member Sandi Graham-Muise. The players, who range in age from early 20s to late 50s, also range in ability. Some players came through the minor hockey or ringette system and others had never played hockey until recently. The team welcomes all new players of any skill level to come on out and give it a try. The team exists to provide a venue for women to experience the joy of hockey and is inclusive regardless of experience or talent.
“Many of us had children who played hockey, so we decided to give it a try, borrowing equipment from our sons or daughters until we decided if we like it enough to keep playing and invest in our own equipment,” says Graham-Muise.
Once they started playing, most were bitten by the hockey bug.
At first the group did not have a name. Once they started going in tournaments, Graham-Muise says they had to borrow jerseys since they did not have any of their own. The minor hockey group had some old jerseys they loaned, hence the name the Liverpool Lady Cougars, she says.
“Most of the women’s hockey teams have humorous names so our name stuck,” she says.
There are 10 teams who have registered to play in the Hot on the Ice tournament, but many more who were interested.
“There is potential to grow, but we are a relatively small group and we do not want to overextend ourselves, so we have currently capped the tournament at 10,” says Graham-Muise. The interest is certainly there.
Graham-Muise says they host a social for the teams at the adjacent hotel which features Saturday night karaoke. They have a Spirit Award presented to the team with the best performance that includes the most members of their team. Teams come prepared with choreographed routines and costumes. In addition, there is a silent auction in the hospitality room to help offset costs of the tournament. Ice time and referees are costly for the weekend since there are 21 games in total.
In the past, any funds raised from the tournament is used to promote and introduce females to the great game of hockey, says Graham-Muise.
“We have offset the cost of ice time to make it more affordable for new players; we covered a couple of ice times for the girls’ minor hockey team; and we hosted a two-day female clinic free of charge,” she says.
The games are open to the public and the community is invited to come out and cheer on some great women’s hockey.