If you’re a TLN reader at all, you definitely know by now that we’ve launched an exciting partnership with the Toronto Six – the newest team in the NWHL, and the only Canadian franchise. While we’re thrilled to bring you exciting content and coverage of the team’s inaugural season, there’s more to it than just hockey coverage. The establishment of a Toronto-based NWHL team is logical, necessary, and important.
Leafs fans often proudly joke (and other teams’ fans often derisively joke) that Toronto is the centre of the hockey universe. But the fact is, that’s more or less true. Toronto is home of the Hockey Hall of Fame, the NHL’s “situation room”, and one of the most prominent Original Six teams in the league. The Toronto hockey fanbase is so deeply established and embedded in Toronto life, that the waiting list for Leafs season tickets (if one can afford them) is twenty years long.
Hockey and Toronto are synonymous. And bringing an NWHL team to the city further cements that. After the CWHL folded, and following the lengthy discussions about the creation of one women’s league, the launch of the Toronto Six signifies the next, important, step for professional women’s hockey.
In their short time so far, the Six are already making waves. They named the legendary Digit Murphy as head coach:
NEWS: We have named Digit Murphy as our first head coach in franchise history
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) October 20, 2020
They unveiled awesome jerseys:
The Toronto Six unveil their jerseys and become the best dressed Toronto team https://t.co/JIMYosGFpH
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) June 26, 2020
And they invested some serious money in building an amazing permanent locker room, the first for pro women’s hockey:
The word home has never meant so much pic.twitter.com/6HfMvdqtER
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) December 15, 2020
The NWHL has grown by leaps and bounds the past few years, and is taking the world of hockey – professional women’s hockey, yes but hockey in general – by storm. Expanding to include Toronto in the league was a logical step for them, because it takes advantage of a long established, deeply passionate hockey fanbase, including many women and girls eager to see themselves represented in the game of hockey.
A testament to how far pro women’s hockey has come: just this week, it was announced that the Isobel Cup semi-finals and finals would be broadcast live on NBC Sports:
.@NBCSports and the @NWHL announce the 2021 Isobel Cup Semifinals and Final will air live exclusively on NBCSN on Feb. 4-5, marking the first women’s professional hockey games to be shown live on a major national cable network in the U.S.
— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) December 22, 2020
Women’s hockey is making history, and it’s no coincidence that the Toronto Six is a big part of that. The past few months have been a time of reflection on the need for diversity and inclusion in hockey, and the Toronto Six are uniquely positioned to help grow the game in those areas, too.
If you haven’t yet, give this piece by TLN’s Marsha a read, as she discusses how the Six is embedded in a community that provides them an opportunity to be leaders in more than just hockey.
Very excited to share with you folks a piece I’ve done for @thevictorypress!
It takes a look at how the Toronto Six are presented with an opportunity to be a difference maker in the Jane-Finch community where they call home https://t.co/TnveupEPxT
— marsha (@leafscerberus) December 8, 2020
There’s so much to be excited for with the NWHL’s newest team, and TLN is so excited to be along for the ride. This team represents more than just hockey, and we’re confident that they will be leaders both on and off the ice.