An annual hockey tournament between the MacGregor Iron Maidens and women from the Baker Hutterite Colony drew a huge crowd on Louis Riel Day.

It began four years ago, when hockey players from the Baker Colony saw an all-women’s tournament at the MacGregor arena.

“We felt that we could compete at that level. So we contacted the MacGregor team and they were happy to arrange a game,” said Baker player Tirzah Maendel.

Dayna Yurkiw with the Iron Maidens said the team was happy to have competitors who lived nearby.

“As a rural team we have trouble finding opponents, especially ones that are nearby. We'll often drive two hours to go play another team,” Yurkiw said.

Both Maendel and Yurkiw have been playing hockey since they were children.

Maendel said that the Baker Hutterite Colony has an outdoor rink with boards, lights and blue lines.

“We do play a lot of hockey in our community. We have our own rink so the kids play a fair bit,” said Maendel.

The Baker women incorporated their traditional skirts into their hockey uniforms by wearing them over skates and padding. Maendel said their uniforms help their game.

“It's an advantage. The hockey pants would be a fair bit more bulky. And it's also lighter. So I think we can skate faster because of the skirts.”

Maendel and her team were also collecting clothing donations for two refugee families that will live in Portage La Prairie.

Maendel is part of the Portage and Area Refugee Coalition, which is sponsoring the families.

Donations flowed from the enthusiastic audience at the arena.

Yurkiw said the tournament has grown considerably since it began.

“That's MacGregor, that's the surrounding area, that's the colony itself,” said Yurkiw. “Things tend to catch hold and they tend to grow just because people are so close knit here.”

Though the game was friendly, someone had to walk away with a win.

The Baker Hutterite Colony team took the game, with a final score of 6-1.