Club women's hockey team to participate in tournament in Estonia

The Bates College women’s club ice hockey team has been selected to represent the United States at the Baltic Blast & Thanksgiving Day Tournament in Tallinn, Estonia.  Other competitors include teams from Great Britain, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Japan, Finland and Sweden.

Tournament organizers contacted Michael A. Kramer at All World Sporting Matches Endeavors, the group responsible for organizing the trip, to select the United States representative.  Kramer looked at rankings and spoke with coaches to determine who would be the best ambassadors for the United States.

“It is more than a hockey game,” says Kramer.  “The Bates College women will be excellent American representatives at the tournament.”

Women’s hockey coach Adam Leff agrees: “The cultural opportunities and the friendships developed take precedence over hockey.”

Estonian President Arnold Rüütel will drop the puck in the tournament’s first game, where Bates will face its first opponent.  Tournament games will be covered on national television in Estonia, and plans are in the works to re-broadcast the games in Lewiston.

Captain Heather Bracken ’05 believes this will be an incredible opportunity for members of the team, regardless of the outcome of the games played.

“The team is very excited, not only to compete at the international level but also, for most of us, to experience a new culture,” Bracken says.

The invited teams will be divided into two four-team pools, with play beginning on Nov. 27.  Each team will play three games in a round-robin format, then the two highest and the two lowest teams in each pool will square off.

In addition to the tournament itself, Bates players will have time to enjoy walking tours of historical sights in Tallinn.  The team will be provided with a full-time translator and guide upon arrival in Estonia that will aid the team throughout the trip.  Bates will be able to reciprocate the hospitality shown by Estonia when the Estonian team travels to the United States this spring.

Because Bates is a club team, they will not receive money from the athletic department to help cover the costs.

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