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The Esso Women's Nationals was the Canadian women's senior ice hockey championship from 1982 to 2008. The winners of the event received the Abby Hoffman Cup. The second place team was awarded the Fran Rider Cup, while the third place was given the Maureen McTeer Trophy. Nine or ten teams (depending on the tournament) qualified for the event, with two from the province hosting the event. The event was sponsored by Esso.

Poster advertising the 1982 Abby Hoffman Cup


The split between the National Women's Hockey League and the Western Women's Hockey League in 2004, this is the only event in the professional women's hockey calendar that sees teams from the two leagues play against each other. Although an agreement between the NWHL and the WWHL was reached in 2006 to merge the two leagues (wherein the latter would be absorbed as a separate division of the former), difficulty in setting up the Nationals alongside an interlocking playoff format prevented the merger from taking place - the Nationals eventually would take place mere days after the WWHL playoffs and before the NWHL playoffs.

With the collapse of the NWHL soon after and the establishment of the Canadian Women's Hockey League in Eastern Canada, the Esso Nationals, which will also serve as a playoff of sorts between the WWHL and CWHL, received a format overhaul starting in 2008, in which the top two teams from the WWHL (representing British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan) and the top two teams from the CWHL (representing Ontario and Quebec) automatically qualifying for the event. Teams representing the provinces without teams in either league fill out the remainder of the field, due to Hockey Canada requirements that every province be represented. The Abby Hoffman Cup will be awarded to both the club pool and the team pool champions. Similarly, the Fran Rider Cup and the Maureen McTeer Trophy (the trophies awarded for the silver and bronze medalists at the Esso Nationals) will be awarded in both the club and team pool tournaments.

To level the playing field (which in recent years had been dominated by club teams) for 2008, the four club teams play in a separate tournament from the four all-star teams (and thus two championships will be awarded at the Esso Nationals), with the intent that the club pool (with the Clarkson Cup as its championship) will be splintered off into its own tournament at some point in the future. The 2008 tournament also saw the first American team to qualify, with the Minnesota Whitecaps joining the Calgary Oval X-Treme in representing the WWHL in the club pool. The format is the same for both the club and team tournaments: after the four teams play a single round robin pool, the four teams are seeded based on their standings and play a single-elimination tournament for the championship.

This arrangement had lasted for only one year; in 2009, the dispute between Clarkson and the Clarkson Cup's artists was settled, and a new championship, the National Canadian Women's Hockey Championship, was created for the professional teams, under the same format. However, this was not without cost: rumors were abound that the Esso Women's Nationals would be discontinued in favor of introducing a midget championship, which was realized with the Esso Cup.

List of Champions

Year Host Gold Silver Bronze
1982 Brantford, Ontario Agincourt Canadians (Ontario) Team Alberta Team Quebec
1983 Brantford, Ontario Burlington Ladies (Ontario) Team Alberta Team Saskatchewan
1984 Spruce Grove, Alberta Edmonton Chimos (Alberta) Team Quebec Team Ontario
1985 Summerside, Prince Edward Island Edmonton Chimos (Alberta) Team Ontario Team Quebec
1986 North Battleford, Saskatchewan Hamilton Hawks (Ontario) Team Saskatchewan Team Alberta
1987 Riverview, New Brunswick Hamilton Hawks (Ontario) Team Alberta Team Saskatchewan
1988 Burlington, Ontario Team Quebec Team Alberta Team Ontario
1989 Coquitlam, British Columbia Team Quebec Team Ontario Team Alberta
1990 Lloydminster, Saskatchewan Team Quebec Team Alberta Team Ontario
1991 Verdun, Quebec Toronto Aeros (Ontario) Team Quebec Team Alberta
1992 Edmonton, Alberta Edmonton Chimos (Alberta) Team Ontario Team Quebec
1993 Ottawa, Ontario Toronto Aeros (Ontario) Team Alberta Team Quebec
1994 Winnipeg, Manitoba Team Quebec Team Alberta Team Ontario
1995 Summerside, Prince Edward Island Team Quebec Team Ontario Team New Brunswick
1996 Moncton, New Brunswick Team Quebec North York Aeros (Ontario) Maritime Sports Blades (New Brunswick)
1997 Richmond, British Columbia Edmonton Chimos (Alberta) Team Quebec Team Ontario
1998 Calgary, Alberta Calgary Oval X-Treme (Alberta) North York Aeros (Ontario) Team Quebec[1]
1999 Mississauga, Ontario Team Quebec Calgary Oval X-Treme (Alberta) Beatrice Aeros (Ontario)
2000 Sydney, Nova Scotia Beatrice Aeros (Ontario) Team Quebec Calgary Oval X-Treme (Alberta)
2001 Summerside, Prince Edward Island Calgary Oval X-Treme (Alberta) Team Quebec Team British Columbia
2002 Arnprior, Ontario and Renfrew, Ontario Team Quebec Beatrice Aeros (Ontario) Brampton Thunder (Ontario)
2003 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Calgary Oval X-Treme (Alberta) Team Ontario Team Quebec
2004 Sherwood Park, Alberta Toronto Aeros (Ontario) Team Alberta Edmonton Chimos (Alberta)
2005 Sarnia, Ontario Toronto Aeros (Ontario) Brampton Thunder (Ontario) Team Quebec
2006 Sydney, Nova Scotia Brampton Thunder (Ontario) Montreal Axion (Quebec) Calgary Oval X-Treme (Alberta)
2007 Salmon Arm, British Columbia Calgary Oval X-Treme (Alberta) Etobicoke Dolphins (Ontario) Mississauga Aeros (Ontario)
2008 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (Club) Mississauga Chiefs Brampton Canadette-Thunder Calgary Oval X-Treme
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (Team) Team Manitoba Team Prince Edward Island Team Nova Scotia