Three international teams are coming to the Lower Mainland to complete their preparation for the IIHF World Women’s Ice Hockey Championship. With the event set to start in Kamloops on March 28, these final games will be pivotal to the mindset for these teams as they enter the competition.
Teams have started to arrive at their pre-stage camp destinations across BC with both Finland and the Czech Republic choosing Richmond as the ideal place to get ready for the most important event on this year’s international women’s calendar. Switzerland will be staging most of their camp in nearby Chilliwack but will be traveling into Richmond in order to take part in an exhibition game to help them with their final preparations.
The women’s international hockey scene has traditionally been dominated by Canada and the United States, but both Finland and Switzerland have turned heads recently and the Czech Republic has been making consistent strides forward. At the Sochi Olympics, Finland battled the US to a 3-1 loss before eventually watching the Swiss take the bronze medal. In last year’s IIHF World Championship, Finland repaid the favour and took over third place. But we have seen teams in recent years take one of the powerhouse nations to the final buzzer in close games, with the Finns being the most recent nation to cause an upset as they chased the host team USA to the bronze game after a sensational goaltending display.
Anything is possible in a short term competition – both the Swedes and Finns have surprised in the past. The ability for teams to develop the belief and confidence to find a way to upset the balance of power will largely come from what happens in the final days leading into the tournament. Fans around the Lower Mainland have the opportunity to come and see some of the best women’s hockey players in the world over the next few days as they head to North America and begin their final drive.
Don’t miss your chance to see these teams in action! Free admission for all exhibition games.
Monday, March 21 @ 6:30 pm – Switzerland vs Finland – Richmond Olympic Oval
Wednesday, March 23 @ 6:30 pm – Finland vs Czech Republic – Richmond Olympic Oval
Thursday, March 24 @ 1:00 pm – Czech Republic vs UBC Thunderbirds – UBC
For fans who may want to see how national teams practice and are looking for something to do during spring break, these sessions are also open to public at the Richmond Olympic Oval:
Saturday, March 19 @ 11:00 am – Finland
Sunday, March 20 @ 10:00 am and 4:00 pm (two practices on this day) – Finland
Tuesday, March 22 @1:45 pm – Finland
Tuesday, March 22 @ 3:00 pm – Czech Republic
Thursday, March 24 @ 10:00 am – Finland