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Whitecourt Hotshots host another fantastic weekend of hockey, despite snowy conditions

The Whitecourt Hotshots hockey team hosted their annual Tournament of Hearts at the Scott Safety Centre over the weekend, with 15 teams taking part.  Despite treacherous roads, after up to 30cm fell on the region, only one team was forced to back out, making for three full days of great hockey.

Tournament organizer and member of the Hotshots, Reilly Hogberg, said that close to 200 athletes took part and that each year it’s a very well attended event.  “The tournament has been running for close to thirty years now and it’s always been an enormous success with lots of turn out.”

One of the teams that the Hotshots played was Onoway, which is a match-up they both see often.  “This tournament allows for people in and around the area to play different teams.  We do play Onoway on a regular basis, but due to the team that had to drop out, we played them in this tournament as well.  It’s good, we like them.  It’s always a good match and we all have fun together.”

Teams that attended included Edson, Sturgeon Lake, Edmonton and Chestermere.  “I think its been a very competitive tournament and we really like getting to host the high caliber players.  This year we’ve had some great teams come out.  Our men’s side has lots of local people so it’s good that way too because I love the support that it brings.   This is one of the biggest tournaments that Whitecourt hosts for adult hockey, definitely for the ladies.”

Reilly invites local women to come try out playing with the team to see if it would be something they enjoy.  The Hotshots practice every Thursday evening at 9:15pm and every second Saturday at 8pm, both of which take place at the Scott Safety Centre.  “We are trying to expand the sport because I feel like it has dropped in the previous years and it’s kind of sad to see.”

Reilly’s mom played in the Swan Hills area, so growing up, Reilly saw a huge community of women players in a league and would like to see it grow back up to that level.  “They were a league then and now we’re kind of just a rec team affiliated with a bunch of other teams around the area.  I would like to see it grow!”

This year’s tournament is the first year that there have been more ladies’ teams than men’ teams which shows positive growth as more women lace up the skates to play.   “There’s no real age limit to join us.  We do have a few of the Whitecourt Midget girls come out and play with us and that’s totally acceptable.  There are lots of adult tournaments though, that are 18+, so we try and stick around that if we can, but the more the merrier.  All are welcome!”

 

 

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