Okotoks’ annual celebration of female hockey is set to celebrate a decade of lasting memories.
The Okotoks Female Hockey Classic hits its 10th anniversary milestone in style this weekend with over 40 teams in 10 divisions showcasing their skills in four arenas in the surrounding area.
“The tournament just gets a little bit bigger year after year,” said tournament co-ordinator Jennifer Dustow. “We’re definitely looking forward to the expansion of the Pason (Arena) so that we can continue to grow with it.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth. We’ve gone from using two arenas in the beginning, I want to say we only started out with three divisions back then. To go from three to 10 in 10 years is amazing.”
Forty-two teams in 10 divisions will take to the ice for the four-day competition.
Okotoks boasts 15 squads in the competition; two in Novice, four in Atom, four in Peewee, three in Bantam and two in Midget.
That’s an increase of one Okotoks team from the past two tournaments.
Through word of mouth and reputation the event has attracted teams from across provincial and national borders.
This year’s event has teams descending on Big Rock Country from as far as Regina and Saskatoon.
With the arrival of the visitors comes a considerable boon to the local economy.
“I think it has a huge impact on the community,” said Dustow, whose been involved since the tournament’s inception. “If we have 650 athletes we bring in let’s say double that, you’re looking at 12-13 hundred people. It’s probably closer to 3,000 people that come because I see grandparents, siblings and all kinds of family members that come with these teams.
“It has a huge impact.”
The Classic has proven to be a launching pad for strong seasons in years past.
Last year the Okotoks Peewee A Oilers won gold at the Classic and parlayed their fine form into a championship season in the Rocky Mountain Female Hockey League.
The tournament runs from Nov. 9-12 with games at Pason Centennial Arena, the Scott Seaman Sports Rink in Davisburg as well at the Okotoks Recreation Centre’s Piper and Murray arenas.
Off the ice the Classic is also putting on a Glow Dance at the Recreation Centre to give the competitors a chance to interact in a non-competitive setting.
For the latest results, standings and schedule information go to okotoksfemalehockey.com