May 23 – 24, 2009 was an historical weekend for Irish Ice Hockey. This weekend saw the first ever women’s ice hockey tournament take place in Ireland. Four teams participated in this event – the Dundalk Bulls Ladies, the Belfast Ice Vixens, the Scottish Ladies Team and Team Alaska. This tournament was in Aid of the Irish Cancer Society, and proved to be a very special and memorable event that we hope will take place every year from now on. Not only were all the games very competitive and fun to watch, the Saturday night Head Shave/Leg & Chest Wax was by far the most entertaining event of the entire weekend, as several brave souls let Sonya McEneaney, Shona Higgins, and Debbie Fay wax their leg and chest hairs as well as shave their heads all in aid of the Cancer Society. Special thanks to those 3 girls for all their help, as well as Dean Kelly, Mike Goodwin, Graeme Barrett, Liam Burke, Mark Pepper, Mark Morrison, Sean Gibson and Sean Pepper for letting us torture them all for a wonderful cause. On Saturday night, the tournament welcomed Minister Dermot Ahern, who gave all the teams a special welcome and praised us for our work for the cancer society.
On the ice, it was the Bulls Ladies who stole the show. They won every game of the tournament and took home the championship trophy, their second trophy in a week’s time and by the looks of it, it will not be their last! They put on a very strong performance this weekend, especially in the championship game on Sunday morning versus the Scottish Ladies, which they won 3 to 1. Other notable performances over the tournament weekend were of the newly-formed Belfast Ice Vixens, who despite not managing a win, kept every game very close and made it clear to everyone in attendance that with some time and a few more games under their belt, they will be a force to be reckoned with. The Scottish Ladies, as always, were very tough competition. With the lethal first line of forwards Crosbie, Maitland, and Scoon, as well as a very solid goaltender, Gibson, the Scottish Ladies will no doubt be looking for revenge next year. The guests all the way from America, Team Alaska, managed to play hockey in between site-seeing and adjusting to a major time change in only a few days. They got better and better each game, and were a lovely, friendly group that we were honoured to have play in our inaugural tournament. The post-tournament celebrations took place in the Ice Dome Bar & Bistro after the championship game, and the tournament awards were handed out. Eleanor Maitland of the Scottish Ladies was the Forward of the Tournament; Seanna Conway of the Bulls Ladies was awarded goaltender of the tournament.
While this weekend was important because it was an historical event for women’s ice hockey in Ireland and especially memorable for the Bulls Ladies who won it all, the support that was shown for the fight against cancer was absolutely fantastic. The tournament was able to raise over €2000 for the Irish Cancer Society in just two days! Special thanks must go out to many, without which this tournament would not have been possible: first, to all the teams for participating and making the event a great success. In addition to the teams, thanks must also go out to Derek Tuite, Martin Grant, Aeidamar Sally, Evelyn Kelly, Pat Kelly, Graeme Barrett, Aidan McCann, Jim Pepper, Andrew Flood, Gemma Gorham, Robbie Byrne, Rich DePalma, Adam Pepper, Sean Pepper, Shane Muldoon, Craig Fay, Jason McGrainor, Liam Burke, Marek Bailly and Dean Kelly for volunteering their time to help this tournament go off without a hitch. To the Dundalk Ice Dome and the Dundalk Bulls Ice Hockey Club who supported this tournament 100% , and to the tournament sponsors: Felda Health & Fitness Spa, the Crowne Plaza, Dunnes Stores, The Hockey Locker, Derek Tuite Photography, Kevin Matthews Pharmacy, Sharkey Coaches/Anchour Tours, All Wrapped Up Ireland, Data88.com, K2 Hair, Conway Land Title, and Dreams n Themes. Words cannot express how grateful the girls are to all the people who supported this tournament. It was an honour to play the game we love for such a great cause. Next year we hope to have more teams, more fans, and raise more money and awareness for the fight against cancer.