Surrey Falcons players Gabriella Lee, 8, and Hayley Lee, 12, talk hockey with Hayley Wickenheiser on the steps of Surrey City Hall. (submitted photo: City of Surrey)

‘Wickfest’ hockey festival for women coming to Surrey next winter

10th edition of Hayley Wickenheiser-backed tourney/event here in early 2019

A big hockey event known as “Wickfest” is coming to Surrey next winter.

The 10th edition of the Hayley Wickenheiser-backed Canadian Tire Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival will be played in Surrey from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, 2019, the City of Surrey announced today (Thursday).

“The Calgary event currently hosts 120 teams, with more than 200 applying each year for the event. It was time to grow into new markets,” says a city-issued press release.

“The economic impact for the City to host WickFest is significant as approximately $1.25 million will be injected into the local economy in both 2019 and 2020, with a projected impact of $2.8 million annually in the years that follow,” the release states.

Hosting an event of this magnitude is a “perfect fit for Surrey,” said Mayor Linda Hepner.

“As a city that takes great pride in our world-class sporting facilities, WickFest is a wonderful showcase for female hockey players of all ages to come to Surrey to not only play, but celebrate Canada’s game.”

Wickenheiser, a multiple gold-medalist with Canada’s national women’s team, said “Surrey was a natural fit for us. The city has great facilities now,” she stated, “and even better ones coming online in the coming years, and it’s a hockey-hungry community in the Lower Mainland. Surrey is a city with vision and a gold medal spirit, so we were naturally drawn to that.”

The purpose of this tournament is to create an international summit of the female game for girls of all ages and skills levels, Wickenheiser explained.

“WickFest isn’t just a hockey tournament, as anyone who has ever attended would tell you. It’s a celebration of the game, the girls who play it, and their potential,” she stated.

The tournament includes several off-ice components, including clinics and workshops “that don’t just focus on developing the athlete, but developing the attendees who take part off the ice too,” she said.

Session topics may include issues such as sleep, nutrition, financial management, leadership, public speaking, vision testing, concussion analysis and more.

More details can be found at wickfest.com.

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