Kamloops bids farewell to Women's Worlds

By Adam Donnelly
April 4, 2016 - 3:27pm Updated: April 4, 2016 - 4:16pm

KAMLOOPS — Preparations for the Women’s World Championships began in 2014, and the event kicked off one week ago. Tonight, the 2016 Women’s World Hockey Championships will come to a close, with Team USA trying to win their third title on a row, and 6th world championship in 7 years; whatever the outcome for tonight’s game, organizers are pleased with how the event has gone, and the exposure Kamloops has received.

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After 8 days, and 19 games, the best women’s hockey tournament in the world wraps up tonight, much like it started last week, with Team Canada taking on the USA. Except this time, it’s for all the marbles.

The months of preparation and planning, the hours of volunteer work are nearly at an end. With the championship game in sight, how has Kamloops done as a host community?

“From an organizing standpoint, we couldn’t have asked for a better group of volunteers, the hockey’s turned out well, and I think overall, it’s a success,” said Jon Pankuch, one of the co-chairs for the event.

Pankuch, and Norm Daley, the other co-chair, are pleased with how the community has embraced the World Championships. For Daley, the best part is the international flavour hosting the event has brought to Kamloops.

“Walking up and down Victoria Street, seeing people who are obviously not from here, and are speaking different languages… That’s what World Championships are about,” Daley said in an interview yesterday. “All the different cultures [we’re] bringing here to our community.”

From a hockey standpoint, everything has gone as planned, with Canada and USA meeting in the Championship for the 17th consecutive time in the history of the event. Canadian Head Coach Laura Schuler says from her team’s perspective, the event has gone well, while the support from the crowds has kept her team motivated.

“It’s been wonderful. [The] support has been excellent, and the competition has been tremendous,” said Schuler.

For Pankuch and Daley, there’s one last thing that would make the week complete.

Pankuch: “It’s just going to be fun to see a full building again. That’s what we want to see here… It’s always amazes me. We all have our favourite team, but when you’re cheering for your nation, it’s always a strong crowd.”

Daley: “The perfect scenario is we have Canada and the US in that Gold Medal game, and Canada scores with about four seconds left and wins it.”

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