Calgary, Alta – The Calgary Inferno made a special announcement prior to the puck drop in their game at the Calgary Stampede Corral against the Brampton Thunder onSunday, October 9, 2016. The organization has partnered with Girls Hockey Calgary (GHC) to create the Junior Inferno Program.
GHC president, Jody Forbes along with minor hockey players and the Inferno’s general manager Jeff Stevenson took part in the ceremonial puck drop.
Over the next three years, Girls Hockey Calgary (GHC) will begin re-branding their teams as the Girls Hockey Calgary Jr. Inferno, complete with an updated team emblem and jerseys. All teams will also be paired with an Inferno ambassador who will mentor the young players, committing to make appearances at team events and stay in communication with the team during the season through email, providing advice and inspiration. The Inferno will also sponsor a player of the week, month and year for GHC rewarding players with tickets to games and experiences such as presenting the Three Stars at Calgary Inferno games.
“This partnership is ground-breaking for our team and the CWHL,” stated Inferno general manager, Jeff Stevenson. “We have been working on this partnership for quite some time now and we are extremely excited that any girl that wants to play hockey in Calgary will now have the opportunity to be a member of the Inferno organization and be able to learn from elite female players that there is a future in hockey for them if they want to pursue it.”
A key component of the agreement between the Inferno and GHC is a commitment to work together to find opportunities to grow the female game at the grassroots level.
“The Inferno is a great organization and this partnership brings so many benefits to Girls Hockey Calgary,” remarked Jody Forbes, GHC president. “Aligning with the Inferno will increase visibility to girls’ hockey and will be an inspiration to the girls who are already playing. This is an important step as we continue building and promoting female minor hockey in Calgary.”
The game also set a record as the first professional women’s hockey game to be played at the historic Corral. During the first period of play, Brampton took two penalties, Jocelyn Larocque for holding and then with five minutes’ left in the period Jenna McParland took a major penalty for head contact. Calgary capitalized on the power play with a goal from Jillian Saulnier and assisted by Hayley Irwin.
In the second period, Calgary killed a penalty taken by Jacquie Pierri at 14:52. Brianne Jenner added another goal to the board about eight minutes into the second period with an assist to Rebecca Johnston. There was only one further power play opportunity for Calgary about three minutes’ left in the period, though the team was unable to capitalize and the period ended with a score of 2-0.
“I felt we came out hard in the first period, we played a more consistent game today, which is what we needed to do,” commented Hayley Irwin, back on the ice after being out last season for injury. “We had to win battles. Last night we let them get to the puck first, this morning was all about us getting the pucks first, winning battles and possessing the puck.”
Brampton scored about eight minutes into the third period to tie the game at two. Laura Stacey sent the goal past Genevieve Lacasse from teammate Laura Fortino. Hayley Irwin scored to go ahead for Calgary a couple minutes later with an assist to Bailey Bram and Brigette Lacquette. After Calgary’s Jacquie Pierri took a penalty for roughing, Brampton mounted a comeback with a powerplay goal with 7:11 left in the game. The goal was scored by Jenna McParland with an assist to Jess Jones. Brampton pulled the goalie with only seconds left in the game, though couldn’t score the goal to even the game. The final score was 3-2 for Calgary.
“It’s been awesome, it’s been a long time coming,” added Irwin about being back on the ice. “I’m getting to know the new players and we picked up right where we left off last year.”