Women’s hockey tourney to face off
This weekend, women from all over will gather together with one goal in mind. Actually, make that many goals. For the fist time ever, the Park City Ice Arena will host the Goal Digger Women’s Hockey Tournament, a three-day event welcoming female hockey players from around the state and beyond.
The spotlight for Parkites will be on the newly formed Park City Predators, a team made up entirely of female Park City residents. They will be joined by teams from Salt Lake, Ogden, Provo, Sun Valley, Jackson and other surrounding areas.
The tournament is in large part due to Shauna Slater, a member of the Utah Ice Vixen, a Bountiful team currently running out of the Ogden Ice Sheet. Slater had wanted to hold a women’s tournament and the new Park City rink seemed like the ideal spot. Slater started working closely with Park City Ice Arena hockey director Deb Modrovsky, who also is a member of the Salt Lake Black Diamonds women’s hockey team. Now that the tournament is finally here, Slater is already thinking ahead to more tournaments at the rink with increased participation from teams around the West.
"We’re hoping for more competition from Colorado and other states," Slater said.
This weekend’s competitions, which started on Friday, are more than an all day affair, running from 7 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
They are also free to the public. Eleven teams are slated to participate and although some of the participants are new to the sport Slater promises that the games will be entertaining.
"It’s the intensity that keeps women playing hockey," Slater explains. "A lot of people don’t even know it exists here."
The games are non-check, so it lacks the violent nature of the men’s game, but Slater explains that it lends itself to be a more graceful match. The stick handling is also more intricate. But make no mistake, Slater says, its still full-contact, with "pushing and shoving and all that stuff."
She does admit it’s a step down from top-level women’s hockey back East, but she says the quality is still high. Some of the advanced players were former high school and college players, and some have even played in national tournaments. The beginning level is filled mostly with women new to the sport, many of whom only picked up a stick when the Park City rink opened.
Both Slater and Modrovsky are hopeful that the tournament will spark the interest of other women of all ages to come out and try the sport. The Park City rink offers a Learn to Play Hockey class that prepared many of the Park City Predators and is geared to train many more.
"It would be a great time to start and you’ve got to start somewhere," Slater said.
This isn’t the first tournament of its kind. The women meet for tournaments and games throughout the year, both locally and regionally. At one time the women played in formal league, but scheduling and consistent rink usage made it difficult to continue. Still, Modrovsky hopes to see the leagues return to help further the sport in the state.
The Goal Digger Tournament will be held Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec 10. Games will be held continuously from 7 a.m. – midnight on Saturday, except from 3:45-5:45 when the rink will open up for public skating. Sunday competitions will be held from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. The C level championship will be held at 9:45 a.m. and the B level championship will be held at 12:45 p.m. The Park City Predators are scheduled to play at noon and 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. For more information about the tournament, visit http://www.UtahIceVixen.com and click on the Goal Digger Tournament link. To get involved with women’s hockey in Park City, contact Deb Modrovsky at the Park City Ice Arena at 615-7500.
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