CWHL 2016 All-Star Game

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) is a “premier, professionally-run women’s hockey league … centrally funded, with all participating teams in the CWHL receiving equal access to financial support and given the same opportunities to succeed. The CWHL is a not-for-profit organization, with every dollar going towards building a league that is dedicated to raising the profile of women’s hockey, providing a place for the best female players in the world to compete and inspiring the next generation of female hockey heroines” (cwhl.ca).

On Saturday, January 23, 2016 the league is hosting the annual CWHL All-Star Game! All proceeds from the event go to the development of the league. Game is at 1pm at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto … exciting. To purchase tickets go here.

The Globe and Mail has recently been featuring interviews and profiles of the CWHL, which is unusual for a mainstream paper. Typically there are fringe articles about women in sport tucked in the back pages. So it was a great surprise to see The Globe post “CWHL’s Japanese skaters driven by passion for Olympic hockey podium” front and center on their website this week. The article is very insightful, and highlights the intense sacrifice and class/cultural differences that exist between women’s and men’s hockey, as through the story of Sena Suzuki.

Other interesting reads: Interview with Hayley Wickenheiser, six time Olympian and trailblazer for women’s hockey, and Interview with Brenda Andress, motivational speaker and founder and commissioner of the CWHL. The league is making a concerted effort to grow the sport and make visible the talent of women players. But they can’t do this alone, the public needs to make an effort to support the league … which is where you come in – talk up the league, post on social media: go see games. It’s that simple.

Canadian Women’s Hockey League 2014 All-Star Game

On Saturday, the Air Canada Centre hosted the first ever Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) All-Star Game, and it was amazing (pictures below). The energy, the players, the crowd – all phenomenal. And this happened at the beginning: Best Face-Off Ever! Did you know that former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion played professional women’s hockey in the late 1920s?

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CWHL Commissioner Brenda Andress summed it up best about the All-Star Game: “Today’s game will showcase the skill, speed and finesse that makes women’s hockey the best entertainment on the planet. We are thrilled to see the stands filled with the next generation of CWHL players, aspiring Olympians, recreational players and fans who simply love this game”. Indeed – the event truly reflected this statement, and I could tell the CWHL was appealing to future players in particular. If women, girls and transgender athletes had more access to recreational and elite programs, could see their mentors on television and in-person, could earn a living off of playing professional sports, the future of sports would look very different. I eagerly await this shift in the way we treat women, girls and transgender athletes in all areas of sport.

In the meantime, I am planning a trip to see the Toronto Furies with friends sometime in the new year – can’t wait. For those of you interested in seeing what the CWHL is about, I suggest attending the Clarkson Cup in March 2015 as it will recognize the top women’s hockey team in the CWHL, and showcase all five CWHL teams in one grand tournament…fun.

Canadian Women’s Hockey League

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) is “the premier, professionally run women’s hockey league in the world. The CWHL is a centrally funded league meaning that all participating teams in the CWHL receive equal access to funding and are given the same opportunities to succeed. Every dollar goes towards building a league that is dedicated to raising the profile of women’s hockey while providing a place for the best female hockey players in the world to train and compete. Our players are the brightest and the fastest female hockey players in the world. Our game is based on speed, skill and finesse” (cwhl.ca/view/cwhl/about-us).

Founded in 2007, the CWHL currently has 5 teams that are active: Boston Blades, Brampton Thunder, Calgary Inferno, Montreal Stars, and Toronto Furies.

They 2014-2015 inaugural season began last weekend with games from October 2014 to March 2015. Many of the women who participate in international competition, Winter Olympics and IIHF World Championship respectively, also play in the CWHL. Remember the infamous 2014 Women’s Hockey Gold Medal Match? Those players are integral to the CWHL.

Right now, the NHL is getting so much attention you’d hardly think there was an alternative! And yet there is! You know how much a Season’s Pass is for the CWHL? $140, yowsa, that’s cheap. Single tickets are $15, what the f**k?! Puts into perspective the financial differences between leagues huh? Anywho, go see a game or two (schedule), support the league, watch some fantastic hockey, and perhaps buy some of their fancy merchandise.