Arnprior parks and recreation director Glenn Arthur and program supervisor Jay Koch have tickets available at the Nick Smith Centre for the March 30 game between the national women’s hockey teams of Switzerland and Russia.
Arnprior is going to play host to the Swiss misses.
Switzerland’s Women’s national hockey team, ranked fourth in the world, will gear up for the World Championships in Ottawa by holding practices at the Nick Smith Centre from March 26-30.
The public is welcome to take in the twice-daily practices and attend an exhibition game between the Swiss and Russian national team Saturday, March 30.
“This is a big thing,” said Arnprior parks and recreation director Glenn Arthur. “This is world class hockey.”
Tickets for the 6 p.m. game went on sale this week and are available at the Nick Smith Centre. The cost is $10 for adult and $5 for students 16 and under.
“That’s very reasonable for this high calibre of hockey,” noted Arthur.
He said Switzerland’s hockey teams, both men’s and women’s, have has greatly improved in the last few years. The men’s team upset Canada in a world tournament game a couple of years ago and also made the final four this year.
“The women, like the men, have come a long way,” said Arthur.
He said that the Russians are also putting a lot more effort into their women’s hockey program with the Sochi Olympics coming up next year.
“So we’ll have a couple of pretty good teams playing here,” he said. “It should be very entertaining.”
Adding to the excitement will be the return of former Ottawa Senators star Alexei Yashin, who is coaching the Russian women’s team. The Russian team will be based in Napanee prior to the world championship, which runs April 2 to 9 in Ottawa.
Team Switzerland will be staying at the Arnprior Quality Inn and eating at East Side Mario’s. The contingent will include about 35 players, coaches and staff, so should provide an economic boost for the town.
Arthur said organizers are anticipating that local schools will get involved in helping the team feel at home, much as they did when the World Broomball championship came to town in November. At that international tournament, Walter Zadow adopted the Swiss team and other schools did the same to squads from other countries.
Arthur would like to see the Madawaska Girls Hockey Association be involved as well, as the national teams’ players provide inspiration for their young counterparts.
There will be local flag-bearers needed for both teams at the March 30 game.
A local committee organizing the visit will meet again on Monday to determine how many more volunteers are required for such duties as security and parking for the game.
The Town of Arnprior signed the contract last week with the Canadian Hockey Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) to give the Switzerland team ice time at the Nick Smith Centre for morning and afternoon practices.
Funding is coming from the senior levels of government through the Community Development Corporation to help Arnprior with the costs of hosting the Swiss team.
It will be a busy time for the arena staff. The Ontario Midget Women’s Hockey championship will be held April 4 to 7 at the Nick Smith Centre.
“The best teams from all over Ontario will be here,” said Arthur, noting the quality of hockey is equal to that of triple A (Titans).
At the IIHF Women’s World Championship in Ottawa April 2-9, the top eight teams will compete for the title. Canada and Switzerland will join the U.S. and Finland in a top four group playing at Scotiabank Place, while the other four play at the Nepean Sportsplex.
The gold and bronze medal games will be played April 9 at Scotiabank Place.
For more information about the championship, visit www.hockeycanada.ca/2013ottawa.