Lloydminster is getting its first dose of the Esso Cup as some of the best female athletes will be showcased in the Border City. Hockey Canada, Hockey Alberta, the Lloydminster Steelers and the local host committee announced their partnership for the 2021 Esso Cup in Lloydminster on Thursday.
Mayor Gerald believes the event coming to Lloydminster will help showcase the City across Canada. He says The City of Lloydminster continues to raise its profile as seen through the 2016 RBC Cup.
“We’re going to have people for a week-plus, they are going to hotels, restaurants, they will be doing some retail shopping. We’re trying to put our city on the map and it is certainly happening.”
City council confirmed its support for the bid for the 13th Esso Cup in April. The City along with the Lloydminster Bobcats and Hockey Alberta wrote letters of support in order to assist in bringing to the tournament to the Border City. Mayor Aalbers says the City will continue its support as the Esso Cup Host Organizing Committee heads towards the tournament with facilities and anything the City can provide. So far, there is no cost towards the City for the tournament, Aalbers says council looks to keep it that way.
“There’s national sponsorship, I’m sure there will be local sponsorship, so I am sure, the best we can, that there is no added direct cost to the taxpayer. There is always facility upgrades that can be made and we will try to work those into the annual budget if required.”
All of the net proceeds through ticket sales, sponsorship and grants through Hockey Canada’s national championships stay within the host city to further the support the growth of hockey in the community.
For the past ten years, the Esso Cup has brought together five regional champions across the country, plus a host team to showcase their talent with the goal of gaining Canada’s National Female Midget Championship. April 2021 will mark the first appearance of the Steelers in the six-team format after concluding a record of 39-13-1 during the Alberta Female Hockey League 2018-2019 season.
Lloydminster Female Hockey Executive Director, Shawn Kaschl believes the athlete’s skills on and off the ice not only increased the PWM Steelers hosting chances but demonstrates how the program has helped the players as they move towards other chapters in their lives. The program has been heavily involved in the community such as the Twinkle Tour, going to minor hockey practices, having other girls come to the game.
“Those are the soft skills that [are making] our athletes when they leave the program [when they talk to other people and say] ‘this program was tendered to get to the next level’ whether it’s into school or hockey at a professional or international level.”
Kaschl says the growth of female hockey was a mandate given to them by Hockey Alberta. The Future Steelers program invites one minor hockey team from either Wainwright, Cold Lake, Bonnyville, Vermilion and Lloydminster per home game to come out and see the AAA team play and get special treatment.
“Those types of touches you can get within the community and reaching out to other communities helps grow that female game saying there is more than just hockey with this it’s not just a lifestyle, it creates better [hockey players, athletes and helps numbers grow with the work done in the community].”
This will be the fourth time Alberta has hosted the national female midget championships in the last eleven years. Hockey Alberta CEO Rob Litwinski believes Lloydminster hosting the Esso Cup will help advance the female hockey within the City and the whole province.
“We’re very proud to host a national championship in our province and certainly to do it in a community like Lloydminster that’s done it before. It’s very exciting for us.”
The Steelers look to become the first host team to win the Esso Cup at the Civic Centre in 2021. The official tournament schedule and ticket information for the 2021 Esso Cup will be announced at a later date.