OTTAWA -- Tessa Bonhomme already expected great things from the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship.
After learning of the federal government's financial support, she is absolutely convinced of the tournament's success.
Minister of State Bal Gosal announced Thursday that Sport Canada will provide $500,000 in funding for the World Championship taking place in Ottawa April 2-9, 2013. The announcement was made at a joint press conference held by Hockey Canada, the City of Ottawa and the federal government.
"Today, on International Day of the Girl, the Harper Government is pleased to announce support for an event that will offer our Canadian women athletes the opportunity to compete against some of the world's best on home soil as they continue to be a huge inspiration to a younger generation of hockey players," Gosal said.
"Hosting the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship will not only provide an economic boost to the Ottawa region, it will also demonstrate that Canada is truly a leading sport nation."
News of the funding came as a welcome announcement.
"My jaw hit the floor (when I read about it)," said Bonhomme, a member of Canada's national women's team."I was ecstatic. It's always nice to see people backing female sport, but also our tournament. I always thought it was going to be a great event, but to have this extra backing now I know it's going to be mind blowing and I can't wait to see what's going to be coming of it."
Bonhomme is hopeful to be part of the roster for the World Championships as she has experienced first-hand the hospitality of Ottawa hockey fans. The 27-year-old was part of the team who played in Ottawa on New Year's Day in 2010 when a record-breaking crowd of 16,347 fans watched Canada defeat the United States 3-2 in a shootout.
Organizers are already talking about setting new attendance records for the upcoming tournament. They're hoping for over 200,000 total spectators and Senators Sports & Entertainment president Cyril Leeder is hopeful the tournament will raise over $30 million in economic activity for the city of Ottawa.
If reached, those totals would surpass the previous attendance record for the women's world championship set in Winnipeg in 2007 and the $29 million in economic activity from the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend held in Ottawa.
Ottawa was the site of the inaugural women's tournament in 1990.
"From the beginning, in 1990, Ottawa has supported women's hockey," Bonhomme said. "It's unbelievable to see how much you guys truly embrace the sport."
Organizers also unveiled the slogan for the upcoming tournament -- "Don't Miss the Moment."
"It says 'Don't Miss the Moment' and I don't think (people in Ottawa) will," Bonhomme said. "Ottawa is one of the best cities to be hosting this event and I hope to continue to train hard and make the team so I can come here and experience it with all the other girls."