Recently returned from the Canadian Moose Migration hockey tour of Iceland, a number of Burns Lake women are already planning for their next hockey tour of Australia during 2013.
As reported in the Lakes District News edition of May 2, 2012, five members of the Burns Lake women’s Vortex hockey team were selected to travel to Iceland as ambassadors of hockey with the Canadian Moose World Traveling Ice Hockey Club.
Jen McPhail, Rose Unruh, Janette Derksen, Janine Dougall and Cherie McEntire travelled with the Canadian Moose team, which is based out of Newmarket, Ontario, with the intent of introducing and promoting hockey.
Since its formation in 1989, the Canadian Moose team has travelled to Europe and the South Pacific to introduce the sport to new enthusiasts in regions where ice hockey is still in the early stages of development.
As well as participating in ‘just for fun’ tournaments on the Iceland tour, the Canadian Moose team also visited schools.
Unruh said she had an awesome experience. “It was even better than we expected. I really enjoyed the visiting the schools and talking to kids about life in Canada and about hockey,” she said.
McPhail said, “The kids were totally interested in what we had to say and at one of the schools there was even two kids that were already involved in hockey. After the school visit, a lot of kids and their parents showed up at our next game to see what it was all about.”
Unruh said the team was treated like rock stars. “We were even asked to sign autographs,” she laughed.
They donated hockey equipment to get the kids started with the game and the team all chipped to donate whatever they could.
McPhail said the sport is just at the grass roots level in Iceland, but is building interest.
Two male teams also travelled with the women’s team as part of the Canadian Moose tour.
“It was an amazing group of people,” McPhail said, adding that the tour was a friendship tour. “Everyone has been asking us if we won our games, but that wasn’t the point of the tour. People were great and a lot was packed into the five day tour. We hardly had time to eat and sleep,” she added.
During one of the games McPhail said the women’s Canadian Moose team couldn’t understand why they couldn’t score.
“Later we discovered that we were playing against the Iceland national team’s goalie,” McPhail laughed.
The women said they want locals to know that anyone, of any skill level can join in on Canadian Moose tours.
“I would definitely recommend the experience. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about being ambassadors for Canada and for the sport of hockey … it would be great if more people got involved,” Unruh said.
McPhail added, “It’s about the promotion of sport and the value of teamwork and all about where playing sport can take you. While we promoted Canada on the tour, we also promoted Burns Lake to the other Canada Moose team members and a few of them area already planning to visit.”
Selection to any of the Canadian Moose tours is on a first come first serve basis
A number of the Vortex players are also planning on participating in the Hockey Helps the Homeless charity hockey tournament on Nov. 23 2012, at the University of B.C. in Vancouver. The event has a fundraising goal of $300,000. “We are hoping to have a whole Burns Lake team there,” McPhail said.
Net proceeds from the tournament benefit homeless outreach organizations in an effort to help end homelessness in communities across Canada
For more information about the Canada Moose tour go to www.canadianmoose.org, or for more information about Hockey Helps the Homeless go to www.hockeyhelpsthehomeless.com.