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She Shoots...She Scores

Shouts of jubilation emanated through the closed dressing room door of the CFB Esquimalt Tritons women’s hockey team after the final game vs. CFB Edmonton at the 2023 Canada West Women’s Hockey.

The 2023 Canada West Womens Hockey Championship opening ceremony and game, held at the Hockey For All Center, in Winnipeg MB, on 30 January 2023. Photo: 17 OSS Imaging, (Winnipeg)

No surprise.

With their 11-1 victory on February 3, the Tritons had just punched their ticket to the l CAF National Women’s Hockey Championship, March 20-24 in CFB Trenton.

The five-day-long tournament took place at the Hockey for all Centre-- the official training facility of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets and the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.

Besides Esquimalt and Edmonton, there were also teams from 17 Wing and CFB Cold Lake. The 17 Wing Whiteout finished with a respectable record of two wins and two losses.

Dawn Redahl, PSP Sports Coordinator, was the OPI for the competition. Major Cameron Pow, who works at 402 City of Winnipeg Squadron, was the referee-in-chief.

“This was a great week of women’s hockey here in Winnipeg,” offered Major Kristin Gehlert, head coach of the 17 Wing Whiteout, while watching the championship game, along with some teammates and other fans, inside the chilly and noisy arena.

“It was an outstanding event,” Colonel Aaron Spott, 17 Wing Commander, said after presenting the first and second place awards to Esquimalt and Edmonton.

“Thanks to PSP and all the volunteers and officials and training staff who put it on. I caught a couple of games and the level of competition and skill and hard work was evident on the ice. 17 Wing performed admirably and fought hard till the end.”

“We had a good time,” said Private Breanna Leef, Esquimalt’s player-coach.

“PSP did a good job. I’m excited about going to the nationals. The last time we went to the nationals was in 2019, the year I joined the CAF.”

Triton’s forward Acting Sub-Lieutenant Frederique Gauthier called the tournament so much fun

“The victory was amazing,” she added, as the shouts of joy continued to resonate from behind the dressing room door.

The pool of talent in women’s hockey in the CAF has grown since 2020, the last time 17 Wing hosted the regionals, Dawn observed.

“The level of play has gone up,” she said.

Redahl pointed out that 17 Wing received a CAF Women in Sport initiative grant to support women’s programs

“We chose hockey,” she said.

“The Winnipeg Jets hockey development team provided ten weeks of instruction to help everybody improve their skills. The team benefitted from that.”

Redahl also emphasized that you can’t hold such a five-day event without the support of the Wing and all the PSP and other volunteers for the many jobs there are to do.

“It takes a lot of people to run an event of this size,” she said.

She shoots! She scores—once again!

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