Longtime Bears’ president to be inducted into women’s hall of fame

A champion for women’s hockey is being honoured for her work building the game.

Laura Quesnel has been announced as the Prince Albert Council of Women’s 2020 inductee into the Prince Albert Women’s Hall of Fame.

Quesnel will be honoured during an induction ceremony on March 10, held to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8.

Quesnel has been involved with the Prince Albert Northern Bears, then the Prince Albert A&W Bears, since the organization was formed 14 years ago. She has spent over ten years as president and has also volunteered as a penalty box attendant and as a billet family.

In addition to Quesnel’s work with the Bears, she has helped to build the women’s game in Prince Albert by volunteering on the committee that’s bringing the 2020 Esso Cup national Female Midget Championship to the city this April. She also volunteers with the SaskTel Pioneers at Raider Games, Hug-a-Bear for the Victoria Hospital, the Highway Clean up, Christmas Angels and the Prince Albert Exhibition Parade.

“The Council fo Women is pleased to induct a woman so involved in female sports into our Hall of Fame,” president Patricia Leson said in a press release.

“This will be the first time we have honoured a woman with this kind of background and we feel it fits in well with the type of diversity we look for in our inductees.”

The 2020 International Women’s Day theme is ‘I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights,” while the Government of Canada’s 2020 theme is “#BecauseOfYou.”

“Laura has quietly built opportunities for young girls that were not there just a generation ago,” Leson continued.

“The Council of Women felt that Laura’s contributions truly encompass both (of the themes). Because of laura’s contributions, female hockey is vibrant and alive in our community. Laura has shown a generation of girls that they are equal and are capable of playing any sport and receiving quality coaching with a strong organization working for them.”

Quesnel said she was “shocked” when Leson surprised her at work with the news.

“Unbelievable. It was amazing. I don’t volunteer or do this for any recognition. I didn’t even know I was nominated.”

Quesnel first got involved with the Bears through her work and her family. Her niece made the Bears when the female midget AAA league started. Then, her manager at SaskTel, serving as the president of the Bears’ board, asked her to come and volunteer.

She started in the penalty box, eventually becoming president, a role she still serves today.

“The Bears organization … has become like my second family,” Quesnel said.

“it’s very important to me how this league continues and grows in our province, and Women’s hockey across Saskatchewan and Canada.”

She said the game has grown in the last 14 years, gaining fans as more come to each game to watch.

“People are more familiar with female hockey and the Bears in Prince Albert,” she said.

“They’re role models for younger girls’ teams in Prince Albert. They’re recognized all over within our league.”

Quesnel is looking forward to this year’s national championships. She said being able to showcase this level of women’s hockey in Prince Albert is “fantastic.”

Mostly, though, Quesnel is honoured to be recognized for doing what she loves. She thanked everyone who volunteers alongside her.

“I’m so proud of them,” she said.

“I appreciate everything they do as well, and I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without them.

“I enjoy volunteering and giving back to the community. It gives me pride to be able to … help other people out.”

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