Toronto Presents Another Opportunity for PWHPA to Reach Young Hockey Fans: “That’s What We’re Doing It For”


Some of the best hockey players in Canada and the United States will converge on Toronto this weekend for the Kipling Showcase, a tournament featuring the stars of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association.

The two-day event, which is part of the player’s Dream Gap Tour, is the first PWHPA event at Scotiabank Arena since the league teamed up with the Maple Leafs in February. It will feature four teams – Sonnet, Adidas, Harvey’s and Scotiabank – representing Toronto, Minnesota, Montreal and Calgary.

Blueliner Laura Fortino, who will play for Team Sonnet, said that “the opportunity to be on TV and play in an NHL rink” is an opportunity to reach out to young fans.

“I think all the girls in PWHPA have done an amazing job promoting our league and the game,” said Fortino. “We put stuff on Instagram, showing how we train and pictures of girls looking at us. All the girls we impress, that’s why we do it.

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“I think it’s an opportunity for young girls and boys to see these players in person,” said Jayna Hefford, PWHPA president, five-time Olympic medalist and 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee. “As a young girl, I would have loved to see something like that, to see these players, but it didn’t exist. I have a six year old brother and he’s thrilled to go to the Scotiabank Arena and watch the game.

Players prepping for the Beijing Olympics won’t be participating this weekend, but the talent remains considerable, including former Team Canada members Fortino and Loren Gabel, and recent entrenchments Jamie Bourbonnais and Jesse Eldridge.

“At this point in my career, I don’t think I’m at my peak yet,” says Gabel, who will be helping out with Christmas at her father’s G&G Skate Training Center in Kitchener. “I take it day to day and work as hard as I can whenever I get the chance. But for this tournament, and the chance for the young girls to see us play, that’s why we do it.

The first two games of the tournament will be held at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday at the Port Credit Memorial Arena. The winners will meet in the Championship game Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Scotiabank Arena, with Sportsnet broadcasting the game live. The consolation game is Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Leaside Memorial Arena.

The OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads have also teamed up with the PWHPA for the tournament and are offering a $ 25 package for one Steelheads game and one tournament game. Saturday’s games are approaching full capacity.

“When I see that, when I see a girl looking me in the eye or wearing one of our team jerseys, I get a lot of emotion,” said Fortino, who will be hosting a three-day Christmas hockey camp. days, December 21. -23, at the Mohawk Quad Pad in Hamilton. “I look at my career experiences and I didn’t have that when I was young. Now I make it my mission, I am passionate about being a role model for young girls, and in PWHPA we work hard to be role models.

“If I can inspire the girls who come to my hockey school then it means a lot to me, and I love every second of it.”

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