The UBC women’s teaming up with the Grindstone Award Foundation to help more young female players enjoy the game. (UBC/Twitter)

UBC Thunderbirds, Grindstone foundation celebrate World Girls’ Hockey Weekend

Event assists foundation, which ensures no girl is left on the sidelines due to financial barriers.

As part of the international celebration of female hockey, the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds women’s hockey team and the Grindstone Award Foundation have teamed up to host an event for the eighth annual World Girls’ Hockey Weekend.

On Saturday, Oct. 6, a skills clinic for minor hockey players will be held after the Thunderbirds USPORT Canada West regular season home opener against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.

“Girls’ Hockey Weekend is an annual event to unite female hockey players and celebrate female hockey around the world. We are proud to partner with the Thunderbirds, who are amazing ambassadors for the female game, as they help raise awareness of the Grindstone Award Foundation and assist with our goal to ensure no girl is left on the sidelines due to financial barriers,” said Dominique DiRocco, general manager of the Grindstone Award Foundation.

Bursaries provided by the Grindstone Award Foundation helped 30 female players, from across the country, stay in the game for the 2018/2019 season. Proceeds raised at the skills clinic will be donated by the Thunderbirds to the Grindstone Award Foundation.

The UBC World Girls Hockey Weekend clinic will bring 40 female minor hockey players, ages seven to 16, out for a day of hockey.

Registered minor hockey players will watch the Thunderbirds face-off against the Pronghorns at 2 p.m., tour the Thunderbirds dressing room, then get autographs and ask the Thunderbirds questions during a hot stove question-and-answer session before hitting the ice with the team for a skills session from 6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Thunderbird players come from across Canada, including many from B.C. and the Lower Mainland.

“We are very excited to host Grindstone for this amazing event,” said Graham Thomas, Thunderbirds head coach.

“Anytime we have an opportunity to grow women’s or girl’s hockey, especially in Vancouver and British Columbia, we love to get involved. World Girls Hockey Weekend is a fantastic initiative and chance for our players to mentor and give back to the game they love and to the game that has given so much to all of us.”

The event not only is a chance for the Thunderbirds to give back to the game by coaching young players, but an opportunity to interact with the kids who may aspire to one day play university-level hockey themselves.

“Playing hockey has taught me many lessons about life in general, but also time management, being committed to something bigger and it has developed a lot of friendships and good memories that I will carry with me,” said Thunderbirds senior forward Mathea Fischer (Oslo/Norway, Ontario Hockey Academy/Norwegian national team).

The first 100 girls in the door for the 2 p.m. game against the Pronghorns on Oct. 6, at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, will get a free World Girls’ Hockey Weekend buff headband.

Joining the teams for the ceremonial puck drop will be Grindstone Award Foundation 2018/19 bursary recipients Avery Lindemulder, a six-year-old who plays for the Surrey Falcons, and Alice McCormick, a seven-year-old who plays for the Vancouver Angels.

World Girls’ Hockey Weekend, an initiative spearheaded by the International Ice Hockey Federation and Hockey Canada, takes place from Oct. 5 to 7.

The Grindstone Award Foundation is a charity that enables young female players to participate and improve their skill development in the sport of hockey. The intent is to provide support to communities across Canada and address the needs of players who have a desire to play, but are unable to for financial reasons.

• Tickets to the UBC opening game can be purchased at the door, or at Ticketmaster.

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