November 19, 2018 8:49 pm
Updated: November 19, 2018 8:51 pm

Indian national women’s hockey team ‘so excited’ about training in Calgary area

WATCH: This is a very special week for some hockey players who’ve come a long way to hit the ice in the Calgary area. They’re excited about boosting their skills here before going home to promote the game in a country where it’s got a lot of room to grow. Gil Tucker has the story.

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Playing in an enclosed rink with artificial ice is a big change for some international hockey players visiting the Calgary area — and they’re loving every minute of it.

Members of the Indian national women’s team are in the region for training sessions with Alberta coaches and to compete at WickFest, the annual women’s and girl’s tournament put on by Canadian hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser.

READ MORE: India women’s national ice hockey team makes historic trip to Canada


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“We are so excited to play here,” forward Shavina Kawsar said. “We are learning so many new things and it’s been an amazing journey.”

Coach Darrin Harrold said he is encouraged by the progress the players are making.

He’s been over to visit them twice in the Himalayan region of northern India, bringing them donated equipment from Canada and helping them develop their skills on the frozen ponds where they usually practice.

“They’ve improved so much over the past two years,” Harrold said. “Some of them, when we were first there, could barely skate.”

READ MORE: Reginans bring Canada’s favourite sport to India

He said training with them helps play a part in boosting hockey’s popularity in India.

“It’s one of the world’s biggest populations,” Harrold said. “So if you can get into that market and start teaching the game, it’s only going to grow.”

“We learn so many useful things,” Kawsar said. “Very useful for us to teach the girls and boys who want to take up this sport in our region. We just love to promote this game back at home.”

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