Women’s Hockey | Towards a new professional league in 2022?

The Professional Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) is thinking big.


Henri Owlet VizinaHenri Owlet Vizina
Journalism

Founded in 2019, the organization aims to create a professional women’s league within two years, in the wake of the upcoming Winter Olympics. For many, the conditions are more favorable than ever, both financially and sporting.

“What we hope is to build enough relationships with the NHL clubs so that after the Olympic Games we can announce the creation of the Women’s Professional League, which will start for the season. 2022-2023,” explains Mary Kay Messier, who was recently appointed Senior Adviser to PWHPA.

In recent weeks, the organization has held “shows,” that is, exhibition matches with its players, in New York and Chicago. Another similar activity is already planned in the United States. “We want to work with the provinces to play at least one game in Canada, before the Women’s Hockey World Championships next May,” adds M.I am Messier is the sister of former star Marc Messier.

The latter also announced last week that his foundation would donate $ 100,000 to the Drinking Water and Sanitation Association, in order to encourage the public to give more.

“We have the wind in our sails. I sincerely believe that if we take the best players in the world and market them right, people will participate and they will care,” says the woman who is also vice president of marketing at Power Hockey Company, which sponsors the creation of PWHPA “Team Montreal”, It was announced last Tuesday.

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At the heart of this team is Women’s Hockey Crosby, three-time Olympic medalist Marie-Philippe Boleyn. According to the hockey player, creating a league wouldn’t be long in the future. “We are on the right track. I really think the momentum is growing more,” the athlete said in an interview with Journalism.

The creation of the league will truly be a historic moment and will allow the next new generation, all these little girls, to dream big.

Mary Philip Boleyn

For the 29-year-old, the main thing about women’s hockey is still to be “seen and heard”. “It is very easy to see that the more people see us on television, the more they relate to us, and the more they realize that women’s hockey is the good game of hockey. It reopens the eyes of a lot of people, I think.

“Every four years, at the Olympics, there is suddenly a lot of interest, but this time we hope to use that enthusiasm to build on it,” adds the striker who is originally from Beauceville, in Chaudière-Appalaches.

A change in mentalities

Danielle Sauvaggio, a former women’s hockey coach, thinks it is time to take action. “In Montreal, the question is not whether we will have a professional team, but when. The money is there, and on the day the league is in, we will be ready,” says the person who established the 21.02 position, who trains about twenty players from the national program in Verdun.

PHOTO EDOUARD PLANTE-FRÉCHETTE, press

The place is 21.02 in Verdun

“I think gradually people are realizing that hockey should be open to everyone. We are seeing more and more NHL players who have younger girls and are aware of the risks. If the vision really is … Hockey for everyoneMaybe it will be necessary to go there with very specific programs, ”the master adds.I am Sauvago.

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Even so, the options on the table are varied, says the former police officer.

In Montreal, the Canadians, with the support of Montreal Canadiens, played in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), but suspended its activities in 2019 due to a lack of funding. In the United States, the Women’s National Hockey League (LNHF) is still active and “would like to have a team in Montreal,” says Daniel Sauvago. “Behind us, we have a godfather somewhere other than Jeff Molson. We have a structure that makes us ready to put a team on top of the pyramid.”

Our strategy is to generate interest in the main centers, in order to create what we did in the men’s team many years ago, a league of six, and then expand over time.

Daniel Sauvago

Matches in Montreal?

As for Montreal Canadiens, Vice President of Public Affairs Paul Wilson assured us that the team will continue to support women’s hockey, “either professionally or at the amateur level,” as it has done for several years. .

When it comes to hosting show games, we follow the NHL protocol in times of COVID-19. Since Al-Kindy and Al-Rocket share the same facilities, it is impossible for us to host other teams. But we will be ready to discuss it when everything returns to normal, ”says Wilson.

Habs also said that they have held discussions with PWHPA Operations Counselor, Jayna Hefford, in order to evaluate “tangible means to support the association, whether at the level of marketing or by amplifying specific initiatives.” [ses] Social media, this [qu’il a] Furthermore, I have already started working with the #StickInTheGround campaign. ‘

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Remember, Al Kindi also collaborated with Danièle Sauvageau and former General Manager Meg Hewings during the launch of Center 21.02.

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