Thursday, 7 March 2013

10 Reasons to follow the 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds

10: Livestrong third jerseys for Hockey Canada: Tessa Bonhomme is a member of Team Livestrong, a group of athletes from throughout the world that have been directly or indirectly affected by cancer. Proceeds from the black and yellow jersey sales will help to support the Livestrong foundation.

9: Momentum of Clarkson Cup helps to complement IIHF Worlds: The coveted prize in the CWHL serves as a great warm-up to Women’s Worlds. With Katka Mrazova (Czech Rep) and Florence Schelling (Switzerland) competing in the CWHL, the league is truly becoming global.  

8: First time a Canadian city has hosted the event twice: The first IIHF Women’s Worlds were hosted by the city of Ottawa in 1990. It is only fitting that the city be the first in Canada to host the event twice. Quickly emerging as a women’s hockey hotbed, the event may help to inspire the next generation of women’s hockey heroes from Ottawa.

7: Rink of Dreams help pays tribute to past heroes: Every Friday night leading up to the first puck drop, Ottawa’s outdoor rink, known as the Rink of Dreams plays host to various different hockey legends. The weekly event serves as a great opportunity for younger fans to learn about the living legends from a generation ago.  

6: Grudge match between Finland and Switzerland: April 2 is more than opening day for the 2013 Women’s World Championships, it is a rematch of the 2012 bronze medal match between Finland and Switzerland.

With Noora Raty guarding the crease for Finland, and Florence Schelling standing between the pipes for Switzerland, the goaltending quality on display is worth the price of admission alone.

5: Finland’s Noora Raty coming off a dream season in NCAA: Having broken the NCAA record for wins in a career and most shutouts in one season, Noora Raty is riding an amazing wave of momentum.

Should Finland hope to return to the medal podium this year, a key factor will be the performance of Raty. While fatigue and exhaustion are serious concerns, Raty has the character and ability to dig deep and provide another marquee performance.

4: Next generation of US Stars: Between Kendall Coyne, Hilary Knight, Amanda Kessel and the Lamoureux Twins, the future is now for USA Hockey. Having come off a second consecutive gold medal at the 2012 Four Nations Cup, these young lionesses should be the catalyst towards a possible gold medal victory in Ottawa.

3: First of many IIHF hockey events leading up to Sochi 2014: While the Four Nations Cup and an exhibition tournament in Sochi lay ahead, the Women’s Worlds is truly the event that kickoffs the countdown to Sochi.

Of note, the last two IIHF Women’s Worlds that were contested before the Winter Games was hardly an indicator of what was to come. The United States claimed the gold medal at the 2005 and 2009 IIHF Women’s Worlds, only to claim bronze at Torino (2006) and silver in Vancouver (2010).

2: Sara Seiler emerges as hometown hero: While she will be competing for her native Germany, Sara Seiler has made Ottawa her second hometown since 2006.
After competing in the Torino Winter Games, Seiler signed with the Ottawa Raiders of the National Women’s Hockey League. Despite a last place season with the Raiders in 2006-07, Seiler would join the Carleton Ravens of Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

A five year career with the Ravens which saw her become the first European to be named team captain earned her a great level of respect among fans and players alike. Playing for her home country in her second country makes Seiler an emotional favorite in what should be a very special event in her storied career.

1: Canada has never lost on home soil: In the history of the event, Canada has always claimed the gold on their home soil. With the event having been played in Canada five times (Ottawa – 1990, Kitchener – 1997, Mississauga – 2000, Halifax – 2004, Winnipeg – 2007), the national women’s team is a perfect 5-for-5.

With Ottawa hosting a second time, Canadian fans are hoping that lightning strikes twice and that another gold is on the way.

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