WickFest Hockey and Bigger Stages

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This past weekend I had the honour of performing during the opening ceremonies of the 5th annual Wickenheiser Female World Hockey Festival – WickFest. This is the largest women’s hockey tournament in the world and included 80 teams.  The opening ceremony happened on Thursday, November 27th at Win Sport’s Canada Olympic Park. The special guests included 5 time Olympic gold metal winner Hayley Wickenheiser, Olympic gold metal winner Natalie Spooner, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Axe Capoeria, Seven-time CCMA Award winner Dean Brody and me??!! …just to name a few.

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Tony Esteves & Hayley Wickenheiser

I was also given the opportunity to facilitate two of my “Joy of Good Focus” workshops using jugging and put in a few hours as a volunteer. It was a jam-packed weekend full of hockey, activities and laughs. It was super-fulfilling for me as a performer, a facilitator and as a volunteer.

How did I get this great opportunity?

I got it from another Unexpected Connection. About a year and a half ago during the Alberta floods I did some volunteer work with the flood relief. On one occasion I joined a group through an excellent organization called Deliver Good. It is an organization that, “Matches people that have stuff with charities that need stuff.” Amazing! That June day I jumped on a bus with their team to High River. This recent opportunity came from the people who I met in that superb organization. Just a few weeks ago we had lunch and Deliver Good founder, Robb Price suggested that I get involved with Hailey’s event.

And so I did!

Unsurprisingly, it was wonderful. I was so impressed with these 11-18 year old girls in my workshops. They were the most confident, assertive young women that I had ever seen. Certainly much of that comes from their experience playing on a team.

It seems that these players have already learned one of my mottoes, “Play to learn. Learn to Play.”

As any performer will tell you, there is a certain high you get while performing your art. On the opening night I delivered a glow-in-the-dark juggling show (video coming soon) to an upbeat song called, “Hey Now – Arty Remix”. It’s difficult for me not to move when I hear this song so the glow-show is more like a light-ball dance than juggling. Although it’s definitely juggling. This feeling of euphoria was not the only benefit I gained by working this event. It was an opportunity to share the stage with some superstars and world class athletes and for me to showcase my performance to an audience of over 1000 people. It’s this type of exposure that often leads to further new connections and business in the weeks and months to come. So it continues…

The entire weekend was inspiring for me. I spontaneously started doing interviews with some of the parents and players. During one interview the excitement of one parent was excellent. She seemed almost overwhelmed with joyful emotion for how phenomenal the entire event was. Her feedback was that it was so well organized and the Olympic facilities were stunning. What an opportunity for these girls?

This tournament hosted 80 teams from all across Canada including the Yukon, the USA and even Mexico.

Opening ceremony performance

Opening ceremony performance

There were another 50 teams who wanted to be there. I’m sure that this wonderful event will not only continue to grow but will continue to shape and define women’s hockey. I feel that this event really does help young women develop as a player and as a member of the community.

Excellent job everyone!

Thank you Hailey Wickenheiser for your generous time, effort and kindness for creating such a meaningful event. I saw you repeatedly surrounded by people after your autograph and although you always had someplace (likely places) to be, you were patient and took the time to sign those shirts and books.

A big hats off goes out to Robb Price, Ceilidh Price and Trina Radcliffe and all of your wonderful efforts and staff from Deliver Good. It was such a pleasure to be a part of this event. You and your team did a fantastic job and really created memories and experiences for hundreds of girls this past weekend.

Unexpected Connections can come to you in so many ways. They might happen instantly or – as in this case – you might benefit months or even years down the road.

Keep your mind, eyes and ears open when meeting new people. Think about how sharing some of your life experience and expertise might be of help to them. You never know when a new connection could help shape your career or personal development.

Love LIFE!