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Sharkfest takes over local arenas this weekend with 137 teams

Games are being played at Allandale, Holly, East Bayfield, Eastview Arena, Barrie Molson Centre, Innisfil Recreational Complex and Stroud Community Centre
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There will be 368 hours of game time on 11 sheets of local ice, so if you find it hard to get coffee in the city this weekend, you can happily thank the 27th annual Sharkfest.

The hockey tournament is put on every year by the Barrie Women’s Hockey Association (BWHA) and this year will see 137 teams from across Ontario descend upon Barrie looking to be the best in the province.

Kelli Madronich, the BWHA's tournament director, knows this will be a busy weekend for her and the organization as well as the city.

“So true, it's hard to get a coffee and you can't forget the wait lists at our restaurants,” joked Madronich.

The popular event will bring thousands of people into town. 

“This is our 27th annual Sharkfest Tournament and our biggest one to date with 137 teams from across Ontario, as far as Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins, as far east as Ottawa and as far southwest as Chatham," Madronich said. 

"We have more games being played than any other Sharkfest, with 314 games and 19 gold and silver medals being awarded in 19 championship games on Sunday," she added. 

Games are being played at the Allandale Recreation Centre, Holly Community Centre, East Bayfield Community Centre, Eastview Arena, Barrie Molson Centre, Innisfil Recreational Complex and Stroud Community Centre.

The event runs from Friday morning until late-afternoon Sunday.

Teams range from novice all the way up to senior women, and it is for both house league squads as well as competitive teams.

There are also added bonuses for those looking to come out for some great hockey and see skill on display.

“On Saturday, there is an exciting midget 'A' skills competition presented by Bardown Hockey,” said Madronich, who noted midget 'A' teams taking part include the Barrie Sharks, Peterborough Ice Kats, Aurora Panthers and Stoney Creek Sabres. "They will be battling it out in the fastest-skater relay, puckhandling relay, eight-shot goalie challenge and target shooting."

The skills competition is set for 11:30 a.m., Saturday, at East Bayfield Community Centre. 

Throughout all arenas during Sharkfest, the Barrie Sharks bantam 'BB' team is hosting a food drive in support of the Barrie Food Bank. Look for donation boxes inside the entrances at every arena.

BWHA president Ron Whitehead said he's excited about what the event’s popularity means, not just for Barrie but for women’s hockey in general.

“It is alive a well in Barrie, Simcoe County and the province of Ontario,” said Whitehead. “The female side of hockey has continued to grow over the past 10 years and stats from Hockey Canada show that female players make up one-fifth of all hockey players in Canada.

"Ontario has the largest representation of female hockey players in the Canada, with Barrie certainly being a well recognized and represented centre for women’s hockey in the province," he added. 

For more information on Sharkfest, visit www.bwha.ca or www.sharkfest.ca.




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Shawn Gibson

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