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The 2018 IIHF Women’s High-Performance Camp opened on Saturday evening at the Sport Institute of Finland in Vierumaki. For one week some of the top female U18 ice hockey players and staff will receive top-level education in various aspects of athleticism and running a national team. With the still existing gap between North America and the rest of the world, the focus is on the top female junior players in other countries.
106 players and support staff from 22 countries in Europe, Asia and Australia are present for the high-performance programs including coaches, goaltending coaches, video coaches, team managers, equipment managers, strength and conditioning coaches, athletic trainers and nutritionists. They will be joined by on-ice officials from different countries working on the same goal: to become world-class referees and linesmen.
IIHF Council member Marta Zawadzka, who is a co-chair of the women’s and of the officiating committees, opened the event with a speech to the participants and is looking forward to the upcoming days. “Eight years ago I was here as a participant in the officiating program and now I’m happy to be back and see how you want to grow here,” she said. “It will be an exciting week. Enjoy every single moment as much as you can and we want you to become friends. The IIHF is a big family.”
The main goal for the player is to educate the participants in the skills and training required to compete at the top level of international women’s hockey as over 90 participants from past camps took part at the Olympics either in Sochi 2014 or PyeongChang 2018. The players and staff will work and compete in mixed teams while learning from top-level mentors off the ice in trainings and class-room sessions.
The list of leaders and mentors include personalities such as long-time head coach and GM of the Canadian women’s national team Melody Davidson, former Swedish national team goaltender Valentina Lizana Wallner, three-time world champion Molly Engstrom from the USA, Norwegian national team forward and former Swedish women’s hockey league goal scoring leader Andrea Dalen, and former Canadian women’s national team player and current U18 women’s national team coach Delaney Collins. Experts from different fields from the IIHF and its member national associations will lead the various programs.
“You’re not just here because you wanted to come but because somebody said you’re among the best in your country. We need you to be an example. You will set the example for your team. If you just want to do it like back home, it’s wasted time. We want to learn and get better. You will get as much out of this camp as you allow yourself to,” Davidson said in her address to the participants. “Beside sessions on the ice to work on individual and team skills, there will be a lot of off-ice sessions – weight room, skills, speed, agility, quickness, as well as classroom sessions,” she said.
Beside the high-performance programs, the International Ice Hockey Federation will also run development programs to develop leadership, recruitment and promotion of women’s hockey within its members nations. This includes the Women’s Hockey Leadership Development Program and the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend Program that is dedicated to the recruitment of new female players based on the annual weekend in October with events all over the world. Including the development programs this year’s camp includes 313 participants from 41 countries.
For more information visit the event website where under Programs you can also find the names of the participants. In the upcoming days the IIHF will also have photos, videos and stories on our social media channels @IIHFHockey – make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.