|The Widnes Wild women's team with the Fair Play Trophy at the 2018 BWIF Tournament (Photo by Flyfifer)
The DMUK Widnes Wild women’s team head off to Bristol this Saturday and Sunday 24th /25th June to take part in the annual BWIF weekend tournament.
The “Bristol Women’s International Friendship Tournament” – to give its full title – is now in its 25th year and was played for a number of years at Swindon after the previous Bristol rink closed down and a replacement facility was being built.
It is a fairly unique competition as it involves teams from the different EIHA divisions – Elite League, Division 1 and Divisions 2 North & South - all playing against each other in one big qualifying group, and there have been teams from abroad taking part in previous years as well.
The tournament is a veritable masterpiece of planning and logistics and this year’s schedule features 10 teams playing a total of 48 games. The group games are just 15 minutes each in duration, with running clock, and the next game follows immediately afterwards with a brief pause for ice cutting at certain points during the day.
Over the course of the Saturday - and the early part of Sunday - all the teams play each other and the top four in the final group standings go on to play in semi-finals and then a final – played with a slightly longer match time - on the Sunday evening.
Alongside the Wild women, the other teams taking part this year are: hosts Bristol Huskies, Nottingham Vipers, Streatham Storm, Oxford Midnight Stars, Firebees (Slough), Coventry Phoenix, Milton Keynes Falcons, Cardiff Comets and the Caledonia Steel Queens from Edinburgh.
This is the first time that the Wild women have taken part in the BWIF tournament since 2018 and they did fairly well on their previous visits, finishing second in the tournament in 2017 - where they lost out to the host Swindon Elite League team 3-0 in the final – and coming mid-table in 2018 but winning the Fair Play award.
The tournament runs from 2pm to 10pm on Saturday and 2pm to 9pm on Sunday at Planet Ice Bristol. Spectator tickets are available on the door at £3 per day or £5 for both days.
You can find out more about the BWIF tournament via their Facebook page HERE
and follow live updates of the matches and standings over the weekend via the tournament website HERE