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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: Welcome to the Dream Gap Tour

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The PWHPA aims to showcase the best of women’s hockey this season.

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Kali Flanagan #6 of the United States controls the puck against Natalie Spooner #24 of Canada 
Fans can expect to see Kali Flanagan(6) and Natalie Spooner (24) at several games this season.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

On Wednesday last week (of course), the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association announced the first dates in a series of tournaments they are calling the Dream Gap Tour, as well as a couple of other exhibition games.

We don’t have full details yet, but the tour kicks off in Toronto so here’s what we know about that so far:

When: September 21-22
Where: Westwood Arena, Etobicoke ON
What: Four teams of PWHPA players (Toronto, Markham, Calgary, and Montréal) will face off in a three-game round-robin tournament, followed by a fourth “championship game”. The weekend will also include community outreach events, clinics and a VIP Kickoff Party on the Saturday
Who: Rosters have yet to be finalized but expect to see players like Marie-Philip Poulin, Sarah Nurse, Natalie Spooner, Victoria Bach, Hilary Knight, and Brianne Jenner. [UPDATE: Rosters for the four teams can be found here]
Streaming: According to the press release, Budweiser will be sponsoring streaming, available through www.PWHPA.com before each game.
Tickets: Individual game tickets or a weekend pass are available here. You can also purchase a “virtual ticket” at the link to help support sending girls’ hockey players to the event.

And yes, if you’re interested in some sort of PPP meetup during the weekend, comment below and we’ll try and work something out.

The “Dream Gap Tour” is so named because the PWHPA is looking to both highlight and close the gap between what boys’ hockey players and girls’ hockey players can aspire to. The goal is to show girls’ hockey players the level of hockey that is currently achievable, while building support for a league where both a higher level of hockey and a sustainable professional hockey career can become possible.

Other tournaments are set for Hudson, New Hampshire (October 4-6, Cyclones Arena) and Chicago, Illinois (October 18-20, Fifth Third Arena) and will feature a different mix of teams for each stop. Buffalo, Southern California, and Montréal have all been mentioned as potential future locations.

It has been mentioned that the New Hampshire tournament “conflicts” with the NWHL’s opening weekend, but the weekend of October 5-6 is, and has traditionally been, the IIHF Girls Hockey Weekend, so it’s only natural that both organizations would take advantage of the tie-in.

There are also two exhibition games set so far—against Boston College at Conte Forum on September 21, and as part of the San Jose Sharks Fan Fest against a team of Sharks alumni on September 22.

As far as building support, the PWHPA has already attracted a couple of major sponsors:

  • Adidas, who you may remember signed all four women’s hockey players who participated in the 2019 NHL All-Star Skills Competition (Kendall Coyne Schofield, Rebecca Johnston, Renata Fast, Brianna Decker) to endorsement deals that weekend.
  • Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, who are sponsoring the Toronto date, as well as funding the PWHPA’s regular ice rentals for their members in Calgary, Montréal, and two rinks in Toronto. (The PWHPA is providing twice-weekly ice time to their players in eight areas, which is equivalent to what most CWHL teams had during the season.)
  • Billie Jean King Enterprises. The tennis legend’s company is “providing guidance and leadership”, and King herself has been vocal in her support on twitter, which surely provides some extra publicity.

Hockey Canada has also stepped up to support, not only by providing extra ice time and skill sessions to the Canadian national team players, but by ensuring that extra camps they are planning to schedule in Calgary, Montréal, and Toronto later this winter will be scheduled during the week and thus will not conflict with any PWHPA weekend tournaments.

Beyond the PWHPA events, there’s the 4 Nations Cup in Sweden in November, and we’ll get to see another Canada vs USA exhibition series in December, with details yet to be announced. It’s an exciting time for women’s hockey, and it looks like there will be lots of opportunities to see the best of the best on the ice this season!

PWHPA

Top women’s hockey players announce series of tournaments - The Washington Post
Top women’s hockey players embark on ‘Dream Gap Tour,’ series of tournaments to continue their push for a single, economically sustainable professional league

Dream Gap Tour aims to close gap between what girls can dream, what women can do - The Ice Garden
Kali Flanagan talks goals, details of the tournaments

PWHPA announces Dream Gap Tour, exhibition series will kick off in Toronto in September - TheHockeyNews
Olympians such as Marie-Philip Poulin, Hilary Knight and Noora Raty are set to participate in the Dream Gap Tour, which will be making stops in Toronto, Hudson and Chicago. The PWHPA also announced exhibition games against Boston College and the San Jose Sharks' alumni.

Women's hockey union launches Dream Gap Tour
Kendall Coyne Schofield and more than 200 of the world's top female hockey players have launched "The Dream Gap Tour" in an effort to bring the sport's stakeholders to the table to establish a single league with a sustainable economic model.

International hockey

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The player union Sico has submitted a first contract proposal to the Swedish Ice Hockey Association in the conflict between the Damkronorna and the Association.

Hockey Canada backfills women’s schedule with more camps, ice time - The Globe and Mail
Canada will play in the Four Nations Cup in Sweden in November, face the Americans in an exhibition series in December and be the host country at the 2020 world championships in Halifax

Hockey Canada announces roster for BFL National Women’s Team Fall Festival - The Ice Garden
The festival will be held in Liverpool, N.S., ahead of the 2020 IIHF World Championship being held in Halifax and Truro

IIHF - Chayka: “You love the game”
Stathletes guru recalls applying analytics to women’s hockey in PyeongChang (As is usual for any Stathletes related article, everything is either in very general terms or very tiny sample sizes.)

2019 Women’s Hockey Top 25 Under 25 | The List - The Ice Garden
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CWHL

How the Canadian Women’s Hockey League fell apart - SBNation.com
The Ice Garden’s Michelle Jay talks to Sami Jo Small, Chelsea Purcell, Jayna Hefford and Laurel Walzak about the CWHL’s final season.

European club hockey

SDHL (Sweden) SDHL: Lova Blom made a hat-trick for Djurgården against Linköping | Aftonbladet
Djurgården’s Lova Blom, 16, has not yet debuted in SDHL. In today’s preseason match against Linköping, the talent showed that she is ready.

SWHL - Switzerland SHN is the official media partner of ZSC's women's team
We are convinced that women's hockey in Switzerland is on the rise, deserves a platform, and are thus proud to further promote it on our website.

ZhHL - Russia Women’s Hockey Update: September 2nd, 2019 | CONWAY’S RUSSIAN HOCKEY BLOG
We’re into September, and the Women’s Hockey League season is fast approaching!

AWIHL

Rush sign Aveson | Ice Hockey News Australia
The Adelaide Rush have announced the signing of American forward Lizzie Aveson for the 2019-20 AWIHL season.

NCAA

With classes underway, here's an early look at the 2019-20 UMD hockey rosters | Bemidji Pioneer
UMD men welcome five freshmen while the women bring in three for the upcoming season

NWHL

2019-2020 NWHL Signing Tracker - The Ice Garden
Sydney Baldwin signs with the Whitecaps and the Riveters finally get a goalie.

The best single season performances in NWHL history - The Ice Garden
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A pro goalie coach in her day job, Cronin jumped at the chance to become the Beauts GM