It's a sweet full circle for Emma Weatherbie, a fifth-year science major from Frenchfort, PEI and captain of the UPEI Women's Hockey team. Next week, she and the Panthers compete on home ice as UPEI hosts the 2019 U SPORTS Women's Hockey Championship.
"It's pretty surreal to get to play my last game on the rink I grew up playing in," said Weatherbie in an interview on CBC Radio's Island Morning. "I don't get to do it next year, so I'm putting all the eggs in the basket this year and hoping we can make a run."
The Panthers will have their hands full March 14–17 as the top eight university women's hockey teams in the country come to compete. Two teams will represent each conference across Canada: Atlantic University Sport (AUS), Réseau du sport étudiant de Québec (RSEQ), Ontario University Athletics (OUA), and Canada West (CW).
In 2018, the University of Prince Edward Island bid on and was awarded the rights to host the U SPORTS Women's Hockey Championship for both 2019 and 2020. While 2019 will mark the first time the national women's hockey tournament will be in Charlottetown, UPEI has a proven track record in successfully hosting three U SPORTS national championships: men's soccer in 2005 and 2014, and women's soccer in 2010.
As host, UPEI will be one of the two AUS teams participating in the championship.
The organizing committee for the 2019 championship includes members of the community and university staff. The Honorary Co-chairs are Kathleen Casey, Della Sweet, and Lorna O'Donnell. The Convenor of the event on behalf of UPEI is Chris Huggan, Director of Athletics and Recreation. The committee has secured many local sponsors, and both the Government of Prince Edward Island and the City of Charlottetown are partners.
"We are delighted to have engaged these three women to serve as event co-chairs," said Huggan. "With their leadership coupled with support from the UPEI administration, the Government of PEI, and the City of Charlottetown, I know we will deliver exciting events that will be centred on student-athletes, fans, and visitors alike."
Community outreach efforts to engage youth have been successful to date and a number of schools and minor sport organizations will attend games.
Games begin on Thursday, March 14 with UPEI playing its opening game at 7:00 pm. U SPORTS will finalize the eight-team seeding later this week and release the game match-ups on Monday, March 11. Ticket packages for the entire tournament are available for $50. Single game tickets are $10 for regular admission; $5 for under 18, seniors, or UPEI students; free for children under 5. For more information, visit gopanthersgo.ca/uswhctickets, call 902-629-6625, or drop by the Eastlink Centre Box Office (open Monday to Friday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm).
Go Panthers Go!
(902) 566-0991, firstname.lastname@example.org