PWHPA partners with Maple Leafs for December showcase tournament
Women's players want sustainable, professional league that pays living wage
The Professional Women's Hockey Players Association is partnering with the Toronto Maple Leafs to hold a showcase tournament in that city Dec. 18-19.
The Kipling Showcase will be held in both Port Credit Memorial Gardens and the Leafs' home rink, Scotiabank Arena.
Host Sonnet, Calgary's Scotiabank, Montreal's Harvey's and Minnesota's Adidas will compete in the two-day tournament.
The PWHPA arose from the collapse of the Canadian Women's Hockey League in 2019 after a dozen years.
The organization, which includes players on the U.S. and Canadian national teams, wants a sustainable, professional league that pays a living wage and offers the competitive supports male pros get.
The PWHPA has held showcase tournaments in both Canada and U.S. under the Dream Gap Tour banner to generate support for its goals, but the COVID-19 pandemic severely curtailed its campaign in 2020-21.
Support for future Dream Gap Tour game
The PWHPA last held a showcase event in Toronto in January 2020.
"We recognize the PWHPA players efforts and incredible sacrifice in their ongoing determination to operate a sustainable league that provides the professional infrastructure their players deserve," Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said Tuesday in a statement.
"In announcing our partnership with the PWHPA in February of 2021, the Maple Leafs committed to supporting a future Secret Dream Gap Tour game that showcases some of the outstanding talent in women's hockey today."
The first two games of Toronto's showcase will be played in the Port Credit neighbourhood of Mississauga, Ont., with the final at Scotiabank.
"The PWHPA is thrilled to finally be playing in Toronto again, and at Scotiabank Arena," PWHPA operations consultant Jayna Hefford said.
"The Toronto Maple Leafs have been supportive partners and, from the time we announced this partnership, we've been working diligently behind the scenes to make a Secret Dream Gap Tour showcase happen in Toronto."
The PWHPA's first Dream Gap Tour showcase of this season is Friday and Saturday in Truro, N.S.