PHOTOS: Hockey history in B.C. as Team India comes to play

Squad played its very first game in Canada on Tuesday against Surrey Falcons

A few hundred people witnessed some hockey history in Surrey on Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 13).

Spectators gathered at Surrey Sport & Leisure Centre in Fleetwood to watch the women of Team India play in a Canadian rink for the very first time.

The exhibition game, against a Surrey Falcons bantam-division squad, was organized by the City of Surrey and officials with the Canadian Tire-sponsored Wickenheiser Female World Hockey Festival, or WickFest, as a preview of the inaugural tournament in Surrey, to be played from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, 2019.

The tourney is hosted by Canadian hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, a four-time Olympic gold-medalist who has helped stage a similar event in Calgary over the past decade.

Team India is in Surrey for a few days before travelling to Calgary to play in the ninth-annual Wickfest there.

• RELATED STORY: India’s national female hockey team coming to Surrey ahead of ‘Wickfest’

With donated gear and on-ice clinics to improve their hockey skills, Wickenheiser and others launched a “India2YYC” initiative to help the team make their way to Canada this week.

In Surrey, local residents Neeru Schippel, Julie Sanghera and Bindy Dulay led a fundraising effort to help the team fly and stay here during a “pit stop,” prior to their arrival in Calgary.

In India, the team of women overcame some strong societal and familial pressures in their ambition to play hockey.

 

India’s national women’s hockey team stand for the country’s national anthem prior to a game with the Surrey Falcons at Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex on Tuesday afternoon. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

The Team India bench during an exhibition game with the Surrey Falcons at Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex on Tuesday afternoon. (Photo: Tom Zillich) The Team India bench during an exhibition game with the Surrey Falcons at Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex on Tuesday afternoon. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Neeru Schippel (left) and Julie Sanghera, who helped raise money to bring Team India to Surrey, at the podium during a pre-game media event at Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex on Tuesday afternoon. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Members of Team India pose for a photo during a pre-game media event at Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex on Tuesday afternoon. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Just Posted

Kelowna RCMP officer allegedly sexts assault victim

RCMP confirm investigation but hold back details

Two Okanagan players join Team Canada for Womens U18 World Championships

Anne Cherkowski and Sarah Paul will join the womens World Juniors team Dec. 26

WATCH: ‘Stubborn’ fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

The building, which lit up in flames around 2 a.m., was an infamous spot to Big White locals

Warriors looking for Teddy, hoping for win

West Kelowna hosts their annual Teddy Bear Toss fundraiser Saturday night

Price for one-bedroom rentals in Kelowna jumped 10.8% from October to November

Out of 34 Canadian cities, report said Kelowna had highest monthly rent increase

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Legendary primatologist coming to Okanagan

Dame Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, will present in Vernon Tuesday, March 24

Old Christmas card has ties to Summerland agriculture

Card was sent by former director of Summerland Research Station

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

Frosty will have to pay rent to stay on Okanagan sidewalk next Christmas

Vernon Teach and Learn allowed to keep Frosty up, but will need a permit come January 1

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Conservation officers on the hunt for North Okanagan moose poachers

Officers execute search warrant Friday morning, investigation continues

Most Read