In their constant mission to grow the game of women’s hockey across North America and the world, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) and Calgary Inferno recently kicked off a season-long partnership with the Grindstone Award Foundation, a charity that supports young girls across Canada who want to play hockey but may be facing financial obstacles that prevent them from entering the sport. On November 3, the Inferno was the first of several teams in the CWHL to host a charity hockey clinic to help raise funds for the foundation.
The two-day weekend clinic included both a camp for young girls and an adult women’s camp. Inferno players volunteered to run multiple on-ice sessions, give locker room and facility tours, participate in yoga classes and lead a ‘Hot Stove’ panel where all participants could ask questions and learn more about the world of professional women’s hockey.
With 65 players who signed up to volunteer, the Inferno taught skills, played games and had fun on and off the ice with young players from the local community, all while helping to raise funds for girls anxiously waiting for their opportunity to suit up and play the game. The clinic raised just over $10,000 to support women’s hockey and Grindstone Award Foundation grants for young female players throughout Canada.
“This is a really good cause. You were all a part of something really special,” said Erica Kromm, a six-year Inferno veteran, as she addressed the kids after wrapping up the clinic. “You are giving other girls like you a chance to play hockey. You guys were part of a really good cause today and had fun doing it.”
Growing the game of women’s hockey, both at the youth and professional levels, has been a league-wide initiative of the CWHL since its inception in 2007, and volunteering to help out with organizations like the Grindstone Award Foundation are an integral part of spreading that message. Events like the Grindstone charity clinics give young girls in communities across North America first-hand experience with female professional athletes who also serve as role models committed to supporting a great cause within the hockey world.
The Inferno were more than happy to help out. “Weekends like this are so important. We love being able to get out here and have fun with the kids, give them some exposure to the pro hockey world and do our part to help keep their love for hockey going,” stated forward Rebecca Leslie. “To be able to do that while supporting and bringing awareness to a great foundation like Grindstone just makes it that much better.”
The Grindstone Award Foundation has since held another successful charity clinic with the Toronto Furies and will hold their third clinic this Sunday, December 9, with the Markham Thunder at the Thornhill Community Center in Markham, Ontario.