Canada forward Natalie Spooner moves the puck against Sweden during the second period of 2018 Four Nations Cup preliminary game in Saskatoon on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Natalie Spooner dreams of a day when women’s professional hockey players won’t have to rush home from work to make it to practice. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards)

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to the Okanagan

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone Award Foundation charity weekend in Kelowna

One weekend, three events and plenty of opportunities to rub shoulders with one of the best women’s hockey players in the world.

The Grindstone Award Foundation announced that women’s hockey star, and Team Canada Olympic gold and silver medallist, Natalie Spooner will be joining them for the annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna.

“I am so excited to be a part of the Grindstone charity weekend and helping them reach their goal of providing grants to 50 young female hockey players,” said Spooner.

READ MORE: Okanagan hockey tournament gives back to the next generation

The Grindstone Award Foundation gives out grants to hockey players under the age of 19 that have a desire to play but are unable to because of financial reasons.

“Support for female hockey has never been as important as it is now because of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League folding, which is leaving a gap for kids to see positive female hockey role models play at their highest level. Having one of the top women’s hockey players in the world join us for a weekend of fun and inspiration will no doubt leave a lasting impression on the young players as well as the ladies that will play in our annual tournament,” said Grindstone Award Foundation president and founder, Danielle Grundy.

READ MORE: 200 pro women hockey players form union in step toward league

This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Grindstone Award Foundation and now in their third year of hosting, they continue to expand. On July 19, the Spoon Full of Dreams event features guest speaker Natalie Spooner at the Laurel Packing House. Get a photo and autograph with Spooner, see her Olympics medals up close and get inspired by her story. Early bird tickets are $50 per person.

From July 19 to 21 is the women’s charity hockey tournament (must be 19 years or older to register). Players sign up as individuals (or in groups with their friends) and will be drafted to a team for the weekend. Spooner will be speaking at the tournament banquet, as well there will also be an opportunity to play in an all star game with Spooner on the ice. Early bird cost is $120 per player.

The third opportunity to meet Spooner will be at the Girls Rock The Rink (for ages five to 18) event on July 20 and 21. There will be a one-on-one ice skills session with Spooner, a dryland training session, other high quality female coaches, a leadership and empowerment session and a game on Sunday. Cost is $75 per player or $50 for players registered with Kelowna Minor Hockey, who is one of the presenting sponsors.

Spooner, who played with the Toronto Furies in the now-defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League, is an Ohio State University alum that holds the all-time school goal scoring record. While going to school and playing for the Buckeyes she was a Patty Kazmaier finalist (top player award for the NCAA Division 1 women’s ice hockey).

The same season she won the Olympic gold medal she helped the Toronto Furies win the Clarkson Cup, earning the Clarkson Cup’s most valuable player. Shortly after that she teamed up with Olympic teammate Meaghan Mikkelson to compete on season two of the Amazing Race Canada, finishing in second place. Spooner is one of many players who took to social media last month asking for equality for women’s hockey and recently posted about the creation of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association.

Registration for all three events is live at www.GrindstoneAward.com.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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