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Venla Hovi, who played for Team Finland’s women’s hockey team at three Olympics and is an on-ice instructor for the Jets hockey development, is looking to put together a team of young female players for a tournament in Minnesota.

One of Hovi’s former teammates is running the Finnesota Cup, a tournament in Minneapolis for players from the U8 up to the U19 age groups. 

“I thought it would be fun to bring a team for her tournament to support her in her career there in Minnesota,” said Hovi.

Hovi noted that the participants don’t have to come from the same team, but can be players from different teams open to playing together. She said she’s been getting a lot of interest from people wanting to join in.

“Female hockey, it’s growing. It’s growing at an insane pace right now, which is unreal and it’s amazing,” she said.

“From myself growing up playing with the boys with no idea there were other girls that even played hockey, so it’s huge that all these opportunities come up now for female players and I think the future is female hockey, to be honest."

Hovi said she’s also running a lot of programs for female players at the Iceplex, including a spring shooting and scoring program. She believes there will be more and more events for female players in the future.

“They want to get better, they want to play at the higher levels too, so we provide a lot of opportunities for them to develop their skills.”

On Feb. 29 the Iceplex will be hosting a Gender Equality Day, featuring three on-ice sessions for girls of all ages. The free event will also offer off-ice sessions and a talk with Hovi.

Anyone who is interested in participating in the tournament or any other female programs can contact Hovi online or by email.

- With files from CTV’s Glenn Pismenny