The countdown is on to the Women’s World Championship Ice Hockey tournament at Dumfries Ice Bowl, which is being held from Monday March 30 to Sunday April 5 this year.
The Great Britain Women’s team will compete against top seeds Kazakhstan, plus Korea, Poland, New Zealand and Croatia to try and earn promotion from the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Division 2A. The team will play all their fixtures at 8pm during the week-long event, which should encourage Great Britain supporters to turn out in force to get behind the host nation.
The attraction of this latest World Championship to Dumfries is yet another boost for the sport in the region, and the Council’s Major Festivals and Events Strategy. Ice hockey is buoyant in Dumfries, with the highly successful Solway Sharks senior and youth teams and Scotland’s only Ladies team all based in the town. The World Championship is being jointly organised by the Council and Ice Hockey UK on behalf of the International Ice Hockey Federation.
The Ice Bowl is currently being upgraded, with two changing rooms being extended within the facility and a further two new changing rooms being developed within the adjacent stand at Palmerston Park. This enhanced provision will further promote the Ice Bowl as a premier facility for Ice Sport across the UK, to enable the Council to Bid for future World Championships and Play-Offs.
Councillor Colin Smyth, the Council’s Events Champion said, “It is a superb accolade for the Council to be entrusted to co-manage the 2015 Women’s World Championship Ice Hockey Group 2A. It is a wonderful testimony to Council staff and our investment in the sport that we are gearing up for our fourth World Championship in just two and a half years. It will be great to welcome national teams from as far afield as Korea, Kazakhstan and New Zealand to Dumfries.”
Andy French, General Secretary of Ice Hockey said, “Ice Hockey UK is committed to supporting the development of Women’s Ice Hockey and we are delighted to be returning to Dumfries for this World Championship. Ice hockey is a fantastic sport to watch and play and we know that after previous tournaments in the Ice Bowl, participant rates have increased dramatically. We are hoping for that kind of legacy again as well as a compelling week of action.”
The event has secured up to £19,000 in funding from EventScotland, the events team at national tourism body VisitScotland. Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: "Scotland is the perfect stage for events, and Dumfries has a growing reputation for hosting major Ice Hockey events. These championships will undoubtedly be a fantastic spectacle, attracting visitors from outwith Dumfries & Galloway to take in the action. Events like this are key in driving domestic tourism, which in turn delivers significant economic impact for the area."
Eve Muirhead, the Bronze Olympic medallist and Great Britain Curling Skipper is acting as an Ambassador for the World Championship. Ms Muirhead said, “I am really impressed with the Council’s Ice Bowl facility and their commitment to winter sports coaching programmes and developing access to sport for women. It is a privilege to get right behind this World Championship and to become a supporter of the Solway Sharks Ladies Team!!”
Tickets for the tournament are now on sale and range from just £4 for a single match ticket to £25 for the full week Championship Pass. There are generous discounts available for group discounts and all Under 16s go free with ticket purchasing adults. Please keep checking the local press and the Ice Hockey UK website for information on support entertainment at the venue during the tournament. Tickets are available from the Midsteeple Box Office and Ice Bowl, and online from www.icehockeyuk.co.uk