Hockey

Final games of PWHPA's Secret Cup tournament to be held in Calgary's Saddledome

The final three games of Canada's Secret Cup women's hockey tournament will be played in Calgary's NHL arena. The Professional Women's Hockey Players' Association (PWHPA) has partnered with the Calgary Flames for its Dream Gap Tour tournament May 24-30 in Calgary.

3-team, round-robin tournament to take place May 24-30

The PWHPA has partnered with the Calgary Flames for its Dream Gap Tour tournament May 24-30, where the final games will be played at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

The final three games of Canada's Secret Cup women's hockey tournament will be played in Calgary's NHL arena.

The Professional Women's Hockey Players' Association (PWHPA) has partnered with the Calgary Flames for its Dream Gap Tour tournament May 24-30 in Calgary.

Sixty players from the PWHPA's three Canadian hubs in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary will play a three-team, round-robin tournament with a final.

The first four games will be played in the Tsuut'ina Nations' Seven Chiefs Sportsplex followed by three games, including the final, at Scotiabank Saddledome.

WATCH | Jayna Hefford on the return of women's hockey to Canadian soil:

Jayna Hefford on the return of women's hockey to Canadian soil

5 months ago
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Anastasia Bucsis is joined by Jayna Hefford to talk about the return of the Dream Gap Tour in Canada, and the PWHPAs relationship with the NWHL. 4:25

The final three games will be broadcast on Sportsnet and all games will be carried on its streaming services.

Calgary's Secret Cup will be the first PWHPA event in Canada since Jan. 11-12, 2020 in Toronto because of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns across the country.

The last PWHPA games many of Canada's top female hockey players participated in was a tournament March 6-8, 2020, in Arizona.

The women's world hockey championship in Nova Scotia has been cancelled two straight years because of COVID.

According to Sportsnet, the NHL told the PWHPA and National Women's Hockey League that it would be "inclined to participate" if the leagues could formulate a unified plan, but does not envision operating a women's league at this time.

Importance of being able to play

The PWHPA adopted protocols used by Hockey Canada for the world junior men's hockey championship, as well as national women's and para hockey camps in Alberta in recent months.

"Congratulations to the PWHPA on the heavy lifting that goes into making an event like this come to fruition," Calgary Sports and Entertainment president and CEO John Bean said Thursday in a statement.

"It's crucial that these world class hockey players have a place to play and that hockey fans everywhere can see it.

"It's also critical that the next generation know they belong in hockey and will always have a place to play."

WATCH | PWHPA's latest partnership and what it means for the league:

What does the PWHPA's latest partnership mean for women's hockey?

8 months ago
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CBC's Anastasia Bucsis speaks with PWHPA Operations Consultant Jayna Hefford to discuss the PHWPA's partnership with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the future outlook of the women's game. 4:55

Montreal's Bauer, Toronto's Sonnet and Calgary's Scotiabank will square off in a round-robin format with the top two teams meeting in the championship game May 30.

The rosters include Canadian players invited to try out for the 2022 Olympic team: Marie-Philip Poulin and Jill Saulnier (Bauer); Natalie Spooner and Sarah Nurse (Sonnet); Rebecca Johnston and Meaghan Mikkelson (Scotiabank).

The goal in mind

The PWHPA, which includes Canadian and U.S. national team players, rose from the ashes of the Canadian Women's Hockey League that folded in 2019.

The goal of the roughly 150 players is a sustainable league that offers the competitive supports and training environments the male pros get, and wages that allow them to be professional athletes.

They've so far refused to join the six-team National Women's Hockey League, which recently announced a doubling of each team's salary cap to $300,000 US for next season.

The Toronto Six is the lone Canadian club in that league.

The PWHPA held a series of Dream Gap Tour tournaments and events across North America in 2019-20 before the global pandemic brought sport to a standstill.

The PWHPA's American chapter has played a handful of games in the United States in recent weeks. A two-day tournament in St. Louis was postponed from early April to Monday and Tuesday.

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