Pioneering tournament once led the way for female hockey growth in Minnesota
Blaine, Minn.(November 14, 2012) — A pioneering event in female ice sports in Minnesota, the All-American Girls and Women’s Hockey Tournament, presented by Hockey Central, will celebrate its 20th anniversary November 15-18 at the Schwan Super Rink at the National Sports Center.
Fifty-two youth girls’ teams have registered to participate in this year’s tournament. Registered teams hail from Illinois, Wisconsin, Manitoba, Ontario, Texas and Minnesota.
Five different divisions will be held: U10 A and B, U12 A and B and U14 A.
From its inaugural year in 1993, the All-American Tournament has been a pioneering event for female hockey. The original tournament was an eight-team collegiate tournament, with northeastern collegiate teams making up the bulk of the field.
“Back then, even the college women’s teams in the Midwest were club teams, not varsity programs,” recalls Paul Erickson, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission (MASC), the founder of the tournament. “The NCAA didn’t get involved in women’s hockey until several years later. And it’s amazing to remember, especially since girls hockey has grown so large, but at the time there were no more than a handful of youth girls playing hockey in Minnesota. And nearly all had to play on boys teams.”
“We were on a mission to stimulate interest – and growth – in female hockey,” says Erickson. “And if anything, we were ahead of the curve. We created the event before there were any girls’ teams to play. But it was important to take a leadership position. At the MASC, we take a considerable amount of pride in the role we played in helping to get girls’ hockey off the ground, and to create new opportunities for female athletes.
“Now, the youth players in the tournament have never known a time when there wasn’t a women’s hockey team at the University of Minnesota, St. Cloud State or UMD, but when we started, those teams did not exist.”
By 1995, a small number of youth teams entered. This year, youth teams will make up the entire roster of the tournament.
While the tournament was created by the MASC, it is now owned and operated by the National Sports Center. It has been an anchor event at the Schwan Super Rink since the facility opened in 1998.
Spectator admission is free.
For fans not able to attend the tournament, NSCgamecast.tv, the NSC’s own webcasting service, will be providing live internet broadcasts of 44 games during the weekend. Fans can watch these games live on the internet for $8.95 per game. All webcast games feature play-by-play announcing.
For the game schedule, information on the webcasting service, or to purchase and watch a game go to http://www.nscgamecast.tv/.
The Schwan Super Rink is on the campus of the National Sports Center in Blaine. With eight sheets of ice in one facility, the arena is the largest of its kind in the world.
All-American Girls tournament website:
Tag(s): Press Releases