Welcome back to TLN’s newest weekly column, gathering the latest highlights from the world of women’s hockey in one convenient place! In fact, with March being Women’s History Month, it’s a great time to focus on the growing game of women’s hockey. With more attention than ever on the sport, and lots of movement, there’s plenty to look at.
This past weekend was weekend number one of the PWHPA Secret Dream Gap Tour, hosted by the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Some major names in women’s hockey showcased their talents, including Hilary Knight and Kendall Coyne-Shofield. The games were broadcast on NHL Network and Sportsnet, which is a pretty major coup for women’s hockey!
It's another @SecretDeodorant Dream Gap Tour game day – and we're making history!
Tune in to @NHLNetwork 🇺🇸 and @Sportsnet 🇨🇦 to see Team @WomensSportsFdn take on Team @adidashockey in this first professional women's hockey game played at @TheGarden 🙌@NYRangers | #SDGT pic.twitter.com/Z91ujLfV0j
— PWHPA (@PWHPA) February 28, 2021
In an interesting twist, the NWHL showed their support for the PWHPA by tweeting out about the event:
— NWHL (@NWHL) February 28, 2021
The two entities have been at odds in the past, but there is chatter that it’s untenable for both to continue to grow separately if the ultimate goal of professionalizing women’s hockey is to come about. Could this show of support be a sign that talks of a merger are underway? We probably won’t get any definitive answers yet, but something to keep an eye on.
If you’re looking to hear more from some of the PWHPA players, you can check out this cool panel next week, featuring just a few of the big names.
Fresh off the heels of the first professional women's hockey game played at @TheGarden this past Sunday, @PWHPA's @HilaryKnight, @J16H & @MaryKayMessier join "Women in the Business of Sports" next Wed., 3/10! Tune in to the conversation on @femalequotient FB & LinkedIn 12pm EST. pic.twitter.com/EdQ16xjG64
— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) March 3, 2021
In addition to the Dream Gap Tour games, the PWHPA announced their expansion into Montreal, complete with sponsorship:
— PWHPA (@PWHPA) March 2, 2021
As they continue to grow and expand into major hockey markets, bringing big time sponsorships and NHL partnerships, there is absolutely an argument to be made that the PWHPA way is the way of the future.
Meanwhile, in NWHL news, The Atlantic dove into the drama that unfolded a few weeks back between the women’s hockey league and Barstool:
When the NWHL distanced itself from a Barstool Sports endorsement, it created an online firestorm that highlighted a deeper question: Can women’s sports leagues afford to be choosy about their fan bases? @maggiejmertens reports: https://t.co/4mkw0U5DtP
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) February 27, 2021
You might recall that there was some controversy between Barstool’s CEO and some NWHL players and media. In the end, the league itself made a statement distancing itself from Barstool and noting that what the company stands for and the type of fans it has are not welcome in the NWHL world. Will that ultimately hurt the league? Hard to say. But in the end they chose to stand by their values on this.
The Toronto Six rounded out their Black History Month efforts with a post dedicated to Angela James:
Angela James: A warrior on and off the ice, a Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, a Hockey Canada legend and a pioneer for the sport.
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) March 1, 2021
And, Head Coach and President Digit Murphy posted some “unfinished business” for fans to check out:
— Digit Murphy (@digitmurphy) March 2, 2021
Speaking of unfinished business, check out some super cool advanced metrics from the NWHL Lake Placid bubble:
Advanced metrics from the @NWHL bubble!
I made some models for the @BigDataCup to get expected goals, expected assists, and expected pass completion % and now you can look up any player you'd like here:https://t.co/WL1TyiNJZL#BDC2021 pic.twitter.com/fDiEgHF4ew
— Dan (@danmorse_) March 3, 2021
And finally, Marisa Ingemi wrote a tremendous article in the NY Times that goes behind the scenes of the Lake Placid bubble, exploring what went wrong and what could have been done better. Take a few minutes and read this, it’s well worth it:
“I think it’s really just the reality of how small the margin is playing in a global pandemic. It’s a beast of its own.” https://t.co/OJ5Kg8gdbU
— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) March 1, 2021
If you’re looking for more women’s hockey to watch, never fear! The Secret Dream Gap Tour continues this weekend in Chicago:
CBC Sports will be airing more from the @PWHPA's Dream Gap Tour this weekend! 🏒
— CBC Sports (@cbcsports) March 3, 2021
Check out some great hockey, support women, and help grow the game!
See you next week, WoHo fans!