As part of its ongoing strategy to empower women around the world, ILAC is now the official sponsor of the Dnepr Queens, an all-girls hockey team in Dnipro, Ukraine.
The team is made up of young women from Dnipro, Ukraine’s fourth largest city southeast of the capital Kiev. This summer, the team won Best Defenseman, Best Player and fourth place overall in the national championship playoffs.
“We first heard about the initiative to promote hockey among women during a recruitment trip in Ukraine,” says Tatiana Dandzur, Director of Global Sales Support & Sales Training at ILAC. “Typically the sport is not popular with girls and doesn’t get much support from the public so the new trend caught our attention.”
Throughout the year, the Dnepr Queens participate in community outreach to promote sports among younger girls. However, since the Ukrainian government doesn’t provide financial support for women’s hockey, the athletes have to pay for equipment and training by themselves.
“I’ve been figure skating since I was 3, till I turned 15. Then I had to stop because my parents couldn’t pay for it anymore,” says 36-year-old Tatyana Tkachenko, who is the president of the HC Dnepr Queens. “That’s why I decided to focus on school and law studies. When I became a lawyer and a successful businesswoman, I decided to get back on the ice – but this time wearing hockey equipment.”
Today Tatyana says that hockey is her life and she cannot imagine spending even one day without a stick and a puck. Every month she donates a part of her own salary to support the team and cover costs. Her dream is that one day the Ukrainian women’s hockey team will compete in the Olympics and world championships.
“Canada is a country of hockey and ILAC is a strong advocate for women’s empowerment, so sport is a natural extension of what we value,” says Jonathan Kolber, ILAC’s Co-Founder. “I encourage my own daughters to pursue physical activities instead of sitting in front of a screen all day. Sports build confidence, teamwork and a sense of community.”
In addition to supporting women’s hockey team in Ukraine, ILAC regularly provides scholarships for women from around the world, including Latin America, Syria and next year, Turkey. ILAC is also a main sponsor of Lead5050, a professional network dedicated to raising the profile of women in the international education industry and facilitate them into positions of leadership.
Follow the Dnepr Queens on Facebook to see more photos from the International Girls Hockey Cup Baltica 2018.