Springdale Stadium and the entire region will be bustling with activity next weekend as the province's elite female hockey players arrive for the AAA Midget Female Provincial playdowns.
The teams are from Eastern, made up mostly of athletes from the Avalon Peninsula; Tri Pen, which is made up of the Eastern regions outside the Avalon, including the Burin Peninsula, Whitbourne and Clarenville areas; Central which runs from Glovertown to Baie Verte; Western, which takes in the region West of Baie Verte.
They will battle it out for the right to represent Newfoundland and Labrador in the Atlantic Tournament in Deer Lake this April.
The AAA Midget tournament will feature the best that each region has to offer in 15-17 year old female hockey players.
Dave Edison, head coach of the Central Team, says it's a great time for Springdale, who is hosting the tournament for the first time. They plan to show the visiting teams as much hospitality as possible.
"It's really great for the community, and for female hockey in general," he said. "We're excited at the opportunity to host it, and we're confident that our girls are going to play well and do well against the other teams."
Edison says that hotels are booked from South Brook to King's Point and all points in between, as approximately 70-plus athletes will be participating in the tournament, not counting coaches, staff, parents and fans.
"It's great exposure for female hockey and the hope is to promote female hockey and what's out there in terms of development," he said. "So it's great for the girls and for the town."
Edison says the Town of Springdale has estimated that a tournament of this caliber could bring in as much as $40,000 into the community over the weekend. That means good news for Springdale, and helps to put them on the map when it comes to the provincial hockey scene.
Some familiar faces will also represent the Central team during the tournament. Natalie Burt and Robyn Rideout from King's Point, Katie McKay of South Brook, along with Kristie MacDonald and Emily Edison from Springdale are all part of the Central contingent.
Edison says a new addition this year has been two warm-up tournaments earlier this season as well; one in St. John's and one in Rocky Harbour. Central walked away with wins in both of those tournaments, and Edison says that's a good boost for the team heading into this event.
"This is the one that counts," he said. "I don't want to sound too confident, but we've got a great bunch there, and a great team who have played really well."
The tournament kicks off on Friday, Feb. 21, and goes until Sunday, Feb. 23 at Springdale Stadium.