Leafs enter formal partnership with Professional Women's Hockey Players Association
NHL club 'great supporters and partners of women's hockey,' says Jayna Hefford
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the latest NHL franchise to lend support to the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association.
A partnership, announced on Saturday, includes enchanced marketing coordination and support and sponsorship consulting on commercial efforts.
"The Toronto Maple Leafs have been great supporters and partners of women's hockey and the PWHPA in particular," PWHPA operations consultant Jayna Hefford said in a news release. "We are steadfast in our belief that the creation of a professional women's hockey league with the best players in the world will require a new level of infrastructure and resources to ensure its long-term success, and this partnership brings us another step closer to our goal."
Toronto will also play host to a future Dream Gap Tour game once it is deemed safe by health officials during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Over the years, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been committed supporters of women's hockey," Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement.
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"Beginning with [former team president and general manager] Brian Burke's initial support of the now-disbanded CWHL and continuing today, the Maple Leafs stand in support of Jayna Hefford and the PWHPA and recognize their efforts and incredible sacrifice in their determination to form a single, unified, sustainable professional league. Women's hockey deserves nothing less."
Earlier this week, it was announced the New York Rangers would be the first team to hold a PWHPA game, scheduled for Feb. 28 at Madison Square Garden.
The league, founded in 2019 and comprised of about 125 of the world's best players, was formed to advocate for and advance equity, fairness and opportunity in women's professional hockey.
Hefford, who retired from the Canadian women's team in 2015 after 17 seasons, previously said the best way for a women's pro hockey league to succeed is to align with the NHL in some way.
Their goal is a league that pays them enough to be full-time professional players with the same competitive, medical and insurance supports the male pros get.