The top-ranked female hockey players in the world will face off this week in downtown Vancouver on the same ice where gold will be decided at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games in less than six months time. This is the first women’s competition of the 2009-2010 International Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) season and one of the last competitions before the Games.
Approximately 100 athletes representing four countries will compete in the Hockey Canada Cup at GM Place, known at Games time as Canada Hockey Place, from August 31 to September 6. The United States is currently atop the IIHF women’s world rankings with Canada in second. Rivals Finland and Sweden, ranked third and fourth respectively, will also play in the 10-game Hockey Canada Cup tournament. Twenty-six Canadian players are each vying for one of the coveted 21 spots available on Team Canada’s final Olympic roster for the 2010 Winter Games.
The four teams will play games on August 31 and September 1 and 3, with semifinals on Saturday, September 5 (Canada plays at 7:30 pm Pacific time) and the gold medal game scheduled for Sunday, September 6 at 7:30 pm Pacific time. The final will be televised live on TSN. For information on tickets, which start at $10, visit www.hockeycanada.ca. Fans can also take advantage of a full-tournament package for $120.
During the Hockey Canada Cup, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) will test its operational readiness at the venue in preparation for the Games. The venue will host men’s and women’s ice hockey in 2010, including the women’s semifinals and medal games, while matches will also be held at the University of British Columbia’s Thunderbird Arena, also known as the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
“Hockey fans in Vancouver are already intensely familiar with this arena but this will be the first time they’ll catch a glimpse of what lies in store for General Motors Place at Games time,” said Denis Hainault, VANOC’s general manager for Canada Hockey Place. “This is a significant event for us as we head into the home stretch and confirm our operational readiness for 2010.”
At this latest sport event, VANOC is focusing its operational testing on the following areas: field of play, as well as simultaneous timing and results systems with UBC Thunderbird Arena where a private ball hockey tournament will be held in an effort to replicate the overlapping multigame format of the Olympic Winter Games.
This is the final 2010 competition venue to be tested by VANOC, as well as the final Games sport test event to be held in Metro Vancouver and Whistler before the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games start. It is also the second sport event held with Hockey Canada and the IIHF in a Games venue this year. In March, a Hockey Canada Cup for ice sledge hockey was held at UBC Thunderbird Arena involving four countries.