Friday saw a big announcement in the growth of professional women’s hockey in North America. The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association and NHLPA announced a partnership that will start with the PWHPA’s Dream Gap Tour. The tour is a traveling showcase of the sport’s elite talents that kicks off in Toronto this weekend, to entertain and educate about how women’s hockey can become a viable career path. [TSN]
“For a young girl who wants to be a professional women’s hockey player, she should have that opportunity. Her dream should not be different than any young boy who wants to play in the NHL,” said Jayna Hefford, the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association’s operations consultant at the Hockey Hall of Fame. “[The Dream Gap Tour] is the idea of making women’s hockey more accessible, creating opportunity for young girls so they can see what professional women’s hockey looks like.”
The partnership with the NHLPA is a big step in the creation of a sustainable professional league for women’s hockey. After years of unrest and competition between the CWHL and NWHL, top players like Hilary Knight, Marie-Phillip Poulin, Megan Bozek and Natalie Spooner have spoken out about the need to form a united front. [TSN]
On Saturday, Sarah Nurse - Olympic silver medalist and the cousin of cousin of two-time NCAA National Champion Kia Nurse and Edmonton Oilers defender Darnell Nurse - perfectly defined what the “dream gap” really is:
“They encouraged him [Darnell], they thought it was a realistic goal,” Nurse said. “When I said I wanted to play hockey, they’d say, ‘Okay, what else?’ They’d say there is no professional women’s hockey, and I’d need a real job. [We] really need to see this game as an investment. This is an incredible product and we are really an investment and we’re ready to prove that to the world.”
As the father of two young girls, this quote is tough for me to hear. When my 6-year old started first grade earlier this month, she was harassed by a boy in her class for wearing her Auston Matthews shirt to school. “He told me hockey is for boys...that I can’t play it and that he’s more or of a Leafs fan.”
The fact that kids still think this is troubling on a number of levels. She just dismissed the classmate as “not knowing anything” and was far less upset about the interaction that I was. Her response? She came downstairs ready for school the next day wearing her Toronto Furies shirt. The boy didn’t know who the Furies were, prompting my daughter to tell him “I guess you know less about hockey than a girl...”
She is a big fan or Auston Matthews, but an even bigger fan of Natalie Spooner.
The PWHPA is using the tour to connect with communities through both on and off-ice activities and fan clinics. I was busy with work, but my daughter was able to make it to an event in Toronto this weekend with her grandfather. She has had a lot of fun going to hockey games with me at a number of levels, but I’ve never seen her like this. She came home with a smile from ear-to-ear.
What the Dream Gap Tour is doing is incredibly important. It’s more than a game, it’s a movement and it is an essential step in establishing women’s hockey in North America. While this group of players have faced a ton of struggles just to play the game we all love, they are now laying a foundation for future generations. The impact they’re having on young hockey fans like my daughter is immeasurable.
Another preseason game, another loss for the Colorado Avalanche. The record in these games mean nothing and will have absolutely no impact on the team’s regular season, but it would still be nice to get a win or two. It wasn’t the most eventful game, but there was one moment of significance as Conor Timmins scored in the third period giving him his first preseason goal in a Colorado Avalanche uniform. Timmins has been outstanding so far and while it makes sense for him to spend the season in the AHL, he’s making the decision to send him down difficult on the organization. Here is our complete recap of the 4-3 loss in Minnesota.
The two teams will be back at it again this evening in Denver. Tonight’s game isn’t being broadcast at all and not just because of the Altitude problem. Don’t worry, Jackie will be at the Pepsi Center and will give us a rundown of the game afterwards. Having Sunday evening off from watching preseason hockey is very welcome - it gives me time to binge the new season of Paw Patrol.
Elsewhere in the Central Division, the Winnipeg Jets continue to deal with like without their best defender. With the season drawing closer, the team has now suspended Dustin Byfulgien. There is nothing sinister behind the suspension. it’s just a way to get his money off the salary cap as the team tries to get both Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor signed before the regular season starts. [Sportsnet]
In Buffalo, there was a scary moment for an old friend:
Take a slowed down look, Ristolainen kicks his leg out to sweep Barries legs.— Leafs ALL Day (@LeafsAllDayy) September 22, 2019
Super dirty. pic.twitter.com/AD6vkFxSth
New Toronto Maple Leafs Tyson Barrie took a bad knee from Rasmus Ristolainen of the Buffalo Sabres. It was a really ugly play that the league needs to crack down on. Luckily Barrie was out on the ensuing powerplay and appears to be fine.
If you take a look at the WHL statistics page, you’ll see a familiar name at the top of the league’s scoring race.
Bryce Kindopp was at Avs rookie camp and is a kid that could play his way into an ELC with the organization if he shows growth this year - the same way Ty Barron did a couple years ago. It’ll be fun to keep an eye on him as the season progresses.
Saturday night saw quite the game in Windsor. The Peterborough Petes were able to take a 4-0 lead early in the second period only to end up losing the game 9-6. I’ve missed OHL hockey.
It’s not hockey, but this sure was something: