The Esso Cup, Canada’s National Female Midget Championship, is headed back to Alberta in 2021 when the Lloydminster Steelers host the 13th edition of the event, April 18-24.
The 2021 Esso Cup represents a partnership between Hockey Canada, Hockey Alberta, the Lloydminster Steelers and the local host organizing committee, which made the announcement Thursday in the Border City.
The host Steelers will face off against five regional champions – Atlantic, Ontario, Pacific Quebec and West – in their quest to capture a national championship at the 1,700-seat Centennial Civic Centre.
The Steelers will look to become the first host team to win the Esso Cup and third host to earn a medal at Canada’s National Female Midget Championship.
“Hosting an event of this scale will provide our community an exciting opportunity to showcase our commitment to volunteerism and sport,” said Gerald Aalbers, mayor of the City of Lloydminster.
“The Lloydminster Steelers play a pivotal role in the growth and development of female athletes within Alberta and it will be our shared privilege to stand with them in welcoming the nation’s top-performing female hockey players as they look to achieve personal goals and compete for the 2021 Esso Cup right here in our city.”
Although the Steelers have yet to appear in the Esso Cup, Pacific Region teams have won nine medals since the event’s inception, including three-consecutive national championships from 2017-19, two silver medals and four bronze.
Alberta has hosted Canada’s National Female Midget Championship three times in the event’s 11-year history, with Calgary (2009), St. Albert (2011) and Red Deer (2015) all welcoming the tournament.
“The City of Lloydminster is ecstatic to be selected as the host city for the 2021 Esso Cup, as our community has a proven record of hosting national events in the past and we look forward to once again showcasing hockey in the Border City,” said Ryan Sklapsky, co-chair of the local host organizing committee.
“Lloydminster’s support for elite female hockey is widely recognized and we are excited for the athletes that will make up the Lloydminster Steelers roster for the 2020-21 hockey season as they will have the chance to compete for a national championship. Since the inception of the Midget program in 2004, the Steelers have been a premier organization on and off the ice, and the program continues to develop elite players that move on to the ACAC, U SPORTS and NCAA programs.”
The 2021 Esso Cup marks the second Hockey Canada event held in Lloydminster, which also hosted the 2016 National Junior A Championship.
As with all of Hockey Canada’s national championships, net proceeds from all ticket sales, sponsorship and grants at the event will stay within the host community to help support the growth and development of the game at the grassroots level.
Recent editions of the Esso Cup have also resulted in an economic boost of up to $1.5 million to the host regions over the seven-day event.
The official tournament schedule and ticket information for the 2021 Esso Cup will be announced at a later date.
“The Esso brand takes great pride in its support of the Esso Cup,” said Susan Di Giorgio, fuels sponsorship manager for Imperial. “As a premier sponsor of Hockey Canada through the years and in partnership on programs such as Esso Medals of Achievement and Esso Fun Days, the Esso brand is committed to supporting the development of grassroots hockey across Canada.”