Two university hockey teams are going head-to-head in an exhibition game in Ponoka.
The University of Calgary Dinos and the University of Alberta Pandas teams will face off at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex Sept. 20 as part of a promotion for girls hockey, says organizer Arlene Busat.
Ponoka Minor Hockey has a three-year contract with the University of Alberta (U of A) to host games in Ponoka. The purpose is to show girls what is available to them should they decide to pursue the sport. “There’s opportunities to continue on in university.”
This is the second exhibition game U of A has played in Ponoka; the first was against Grant MacEwan University in December.
“U of A was very pleased last year,” said Busat. “They’re very eager to do this.”
These games also promote college hockey and give younger players a chance to see older girls playing. Last year two Ponoka girls played in the game and once again, Ponoka will have representation
“You’ve got a hometown girl playing,” said Busat.
Janelle Parent plays for the Dinos and has played hockey since she was four. “I grew up playing in Ponoka.”
The 23-year-old started out in Ponoka Minor Hockey and eventually made her way to midget girls hockey in Lacombe.
“When I started out there was only a couple girls playing hockey,” said Parent.
Her career took her to AAA hockey in Red Deer and eventually to St. Francis Xavier University and last year she transferred to Calgary. Parent looks forward to playing before a hometown crowd. “It’ll be something special to play where I grew up and where I was taught everything.”
The game is a fundraiser for the girls’ program in Ponoka Minor Hockey and tickets can be purchased by calling 403-357-7386.