Story written by OFSAA Girls' Hockey Convener Dave Makela as a special to the Sudbury Star
By now, I hope a good number of Sudburians are aware that Greater Sudbury will play host to the OFSAA Girls Hockey championships for the first time ever beginning Tuesday of next week and culminating with the last group of finals Friday.
Here's the Top 10 reasons, a la David Letterman, why we should all be excited about this event.
10. Gratis campus visits. Gold sponsor Laurentian University is swinging open its doors to all accredited participants registered in the championship, offering free use of athletic facilities like the Olympic gold pool, climbing walls and gymnasium during their stay in Sudbury.
9. Teen Sports Night at Science North. In conjunction with the hosting of OFSAA, Science North will be hosting a special Teen Sports Night on Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. Among the special features of this event: slapshot speed testing, accuracy shooting, NHL2014 PS3, shootout and a whole lot more. Great fun for all involved!
8. The big girls are coming to play. Past champions like St Theresa of Belleville (2012 A/AA champs), Appleby College of Oakville (2011 A/AA champs), Bill Crothers SS of Unionville (2012 AAA champs) and St Aloysius Gonzaga of Mississauga (No. 1 seed and defending AAA champs) have all confirmed their participation and will keep the level of play extremely high.
7. Two is better than one. This event is actually two championships hosted side-by-side, providing plenty of action for all to see. Two classifications of play will be offered, including one for A or AA schools (16 teams) and the other for AAA or 4A schools (16 teams), rendering a total of 78 games over four competition days.
6. Quality of play = high, cost = low. The organizing committee was firm in its commitment to keep admission prices as low as humanly possible. To this end, all access passes are just $10 per adult, $5 per student or senior. Daily admission rates will be offered as well. When was the last time you were able to get into a provincial hockey championship for as little as that?
5. We're doin' it up right. Some nice little perks, thanks largely to the generosity of sponsors, like coaches gifts, player gift bags, photo accreditation and arena hospitality, will put a unique Sudbury stamp on this event and make it a positive and memorable experience for all those concerned.
4. The locals will compete. Four local teams have qualified to compete. St Charles College (seeded fifth in A/AA), College Notre-Dame (11th seed in AAA), Es Macdonald Cartier (15th seed in AAA) and Marymount Academy (16th seed in A/AA) will provide plenty of opportunities to cheer on our local players as they compete against the best that the province has to offer.
3. Have gold, will travel. Local gold sponsors like Skater's Edge, VALE, Day Group, City of Sudbury and Laurentian University have stepped up and provided cash contributions or services in kind that will enable Sudbury to host the best championship possible.
2. Legacy of success. Both St Charles and Notre-Dame managed to reach the quarter-final round at their respective OFSAA championships last year. Hopes are high that they'll manage the same feat this year. Notre-Dame brought home a gold medal in 2008, will 2014 be the year for another? Sure will be interesting to find out.
And the No. 1 reason to get excited about hosting OFSAA Girls Hockey 2014? Two-time Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Johnston will be in attendance as a keynote speaker at Tuesday night's banquet. Coming off one of most dramatic gold medal performances in Canadian history, it will be very interesting to hear what stories Rebecca will have to tell about this experience. For any aspiring hockey player, this will be priceless.
Four venues - Carmichael, McClelland and the two pads at McCrory-Countryside – will host the games beginning at 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Make sure you're there to cheer on our local teams at this prestigious event.