Women’s hockey took the spotlight this month in Hay River with a tournament featuring nine teams.
“There were seven out-of-town teams and two Hay River teams actually, which was really good, I thought,” said Lisa Billings, the president of Hay River Hazard Women’s Hockey.
Billings said, along with the two Hay River teams, one came from Fort Simpson, three from Fort Smith, and three from Yellowknife for the tournament, held from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.
The Fort Simpson Moosehide Mammas claimed the title with a 6-4 win in the title game against Hay River Hazard Eh.
“I was on that team,” said Billings of the runners-up from Hay River. “I was pretty proud because some of the players haven’t played hockey in a couple of years or they weren’t the strongest. We didn’t stack one team. We made two fairly even teams.”
The other Hay River team was the Hazard Oh.
It was the 13th-annual women’s hockey tournament in Hay River.
Billings described the teams as generally evenly matched.
“There never was any point where it was, ‘Oh for sure, this is the team that’s going to win,'” she said.
“It was really anyone’s game,” she added. “Anyone could literally take first place.”
Billings said she and the other executive members of Hay River Hazard Women’s Hockey were pleased with the tournament.
“I think the whole executive is pretty proud,” she said. “It went off pretty good.”
In fact, Billings explained that it was the second women’s hockey tournament in Hay River in 2019, the previous one being held in February.
“So we pulled off two tournaments in one calendar year,” she said.
The timing of the tournament this season was changed to accommodate other teams, particularly to help them with travel and getting time off work.
“It worked out good to have our tournament a little bit earlier,” said Billings.
The league president noted there were also two Hay River teams in the previous tournament. However, those teams didn’t have enough players from Hay River for two full teams, and were helped with some players from out of town.
“This year, if I’m not mistaken, they were all from Hay River,” she said.
Billings noted that, so far this year, Hay River Hazard Women’s Hockey has 30-35 players.
Hazard players will be travelling to three other tournaments in early 2020 – Fort Smith in January, Fort Simpson in February and Yellowknife in April.