Eastern Ontario Fastball Blog

A blog dedicated to news about the Greater Ottawa Fastball League and other happenings in the world of fastball / fastpitch softball in eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with occasional stories featuring Mrs Fitzroy Fastball, Fitzroy Fastball Junior and the Caveman. If you have info to send on, send me an email at fastball[at]fitzroyharbour.com. Follow @fitzroyfastball on Twitter.

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Women's university provincials to be held in Carp - news release

University of Ottawa Gee-Gees Fastball Team Hosts Provincial Championships and Provides Opportunities for Women in Sport
October 11, 2018, Ottawa - From October 12th -14th, 2018 the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees Fastball Team will be hosting the Ontario Intercollegiate Women’s Fastpitch Association (“OIWFA”) championship tournament at the Carp Fairgrounds and banquet in Ottawa. The Gee-Gees will be hosting seven other University women’s teams who will compete in games commencing October 13th at 9:00 am and concluding with the championship game at 1:00 pm on October 14th.   The event will feature live internet broadcasts of eight games and will feature teams from Western University, Ryerson University, Queen’s University, Brock University, the University of Toronto, the University of Guelph, Wilfrid Laurier University in addition to the host Gee-Gees. The OIWFA is in its 16th season and features 13 teams from universities across the province. The top 8 teams after five weeks of league play congregate at the OIWFA Championships each year to compete for the championship in a double knockout tournament.
The Gee-Gees will also be using the platform of the tournament to promote women in sport. On October 12th, the team will host the annual OIWFA banquet organized by alumni and coach Jean Cardona. At the banquet, Erin Durant, another graduate of the team, will host a panel discussion on women in sport featuring former Gee-Gees pitcher and accomplished softball coach Elissa Sivel, level five umpire Daryl Way, and Coaches Association of Canada employee Jacqueline Tittley. The panel will discuss challenges faced by women coaches and officials as well as strategies that have been used by Ms. Sivel and Ms. Way to accomplish their goals in sport with the support of mentors. Ms. Tittley will also speak about initiatives of the Coaches Association of Canada to provide more opportunities to women coaches.
According to Ms. Durant the Gee-Gees thought this was an important initiative for a number of reasons, “The Gee-Gees fastball team is led by a team of three women coaches, including the head coach Steph Bouchey, who have each been supported and sponsored by former long-time Gee-Gees coach Scott Searle. We know that women only make up approximately 37% of softball coaches in Canada and less than 8% of officials. We hope to use the platform of the banquet to inspire more female athletes to get involved in coaching and officiating when their playing days are complete and to encourage the male coaches in the room to mentor their athletes into these opportunities.”
In addition to the panel discussion on women in sport, the Gee-Gees are also proud to host an all-female umpire crew who will be officiating the tournament – a first for the OIWFA. Hosting the all-female umpire crew came at a greater expense as a result of paying more travel expenses for women umpires outside of the Ottawa area. However, the host committee believes that the additional cost is worth the investment. “It was important to us to provide opportunities for women officials – a historically underrepresented group in softball,” commented Ms. Sivel. She elaborated that, “we think it will be a great change to have an all women umpire crew – especially when so many tournaments that I have participated in over the years as an athlete and as a coach featured only male umpires.”

The Gee-Gees received significant financial contributions their main sponsor Alterna Savings and an alumni fundraising campaign which assisted significantly in offsetting the cost of hosting the tournament and the banquet. According to Ms. Bouchey, “We could not have accomplished any of this without the support of our sponsor Alterna Savings and our alumni network.” 



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