In this 11th edition, in honour of February being Black History Month and National Girls…
In this 10th edition, we learn more about the PWHL Canadian Tire 3×3 showcase game and the regular season Toronto vs. Minnesota Game, including Kaitlyn’s game highlights and wishes for future PWHL games. We also learn more about Saroya Tinker’s newest role with the PWHL and her impact on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in hockey. Lastly, we learn about the most recent signings of some Canadian soccer and basketball players competing in the United States this upcoming year.
The stories of the week show young girls in sport and physical activity that:
- Exposing women’s hockey to possible new audiences can do great things for growing the game. It’s also important to celebrate aspects that make women’s hockey successful while also thinking of the future and what positive steps can be taken to continue growing the sport.
- Involvement in a sport can look like much more than just being an athlete and playing. You can help contribute to a sport through working within the media, for the business side of an organization, becoming an entrepreneur, and more!
- With new signings and contracts, many Canadian athletes are making their impact known amongst leagues and teams in the United States. With the talents of these players, the trajectory only continues to grow for Canadian athletes playing in professional women’s sports leagues.
Photos from Kaitlyn Lehbert
PWHL shines bright during 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend
This past Thursday, the PWHL put on the Canadian Tire 3×3 showcase game during the 2024 NHL All-Star at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario. The showcase game featured 24 players from the PWHL split amongst two teams, Team King and Team Kloss. The teams were named after PWHL advisory board members and women’s sports advocates Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss.
Some highlights of the showcase game included:
- The loud rounds of applause while introducing all 24 players individually.
- Celebrity coaches of the game included Canadian Olympian and figure skater Tessa Virtue and WNBA 2021 MVP and basketball player for the New York Liberty Jonquel Jones.
- The all-women referees/officials crew.
- The February 16th PWHL “Battle on Bay Street” game hosted at Scotiabank Arena officially sold out on the same day, which is set to break a new record of the highest attendance for a professional women’s hockey game.
- The attendance for the game was strong, with 16,392 fans.
- The PWHL 3×3 showcase game jerseys available to purchase.
This past Saturday, PWHL Toronto hosted a game against PWHL Minnesota at Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Thanks to the ticket help from the PWHL Toronto Supporters Group (check out their account!) I was able to attend my first official PWHL game.
Some highlights of the Toronto vs. Minnesota game included:
- The PWHL Toronto merchandise that was available to purchase (it was mentioned a few times throughout the game that merchandise items were back in stock that day).
- The 4-1 win for PWHL Toronto.
- The “Let’s go, T.O.” chants led throughout the game.
- The loud atmosphere when Toronto would score.
- The various fans in attendance for the game (fathers and sons, girls’ youth hockey teams, moms and daughters, etc.).
Wishes for upcoming games:
- More merchandise sections available, especially for the upcoming Scotiabank Arena game! The overwhelming demand for merchandise proves that items are quickly selling out and that fans, as consumers, want to spend their money.
- More future games to be hosted at Scotiabank Arena or a similar larger venue. After attending one game of the sold-out home games season, I’d love to return for more and hope this can be done before the 2025 season.
- More opportunities for community building. I think it’s great that a supporters group account is in place. I hope that other PWHL teams either already have a similar group or will soon have an opportunity to develop a similar one.
Photo from The Athletic
Saroya Tinker takes on new role with PWHL
Former professional hockey player, hockey analyst, and executive director of Black Girl Hockey Club Canada, Saroya Tinker, has joined the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) as their new manager of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and community engagement. Tinker recently announced her retirement from professional hockey back in November 2023. Before that, she had helped lead the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) team, The Toronto Six, to their championship victory in 2023. Tinker spoke of her new position with the PWHL, saying, “Our goal is to be the most progressive sports league in the world, and I cannot wait to contribute.” She hopes to contribute “to a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive sport overall.” The PWHL has found a very impactful individual for this role with Tinker, who, among her list of accolades already, also created her mentorship program in 2020 called Saroya Strong for young girls and women of colour in sports.
Photos from Canadian Olympic Committee, Canada Basketball, and Canada Basketball (left to right)
Player signings of the week: Jessie Fleming, Kia Nurse, and Bridget Carleton
Canadian professional soccer player and Canadian women’s national team member Jessie Fleming will join the National Women’s Soccer League club, Portland Thorns FC. Fleming was previously playing for the Chelsea FC women’s team, which is part of the Barclays Women’s Super League. She will join some familiar faces, her Canadian teammates, Christine Sinclair and Janine Beckie, who both play for the Portland Thorns. Canadian professional basketball player and basketball analyst Kia Nurse is going to L.A.! The WNBA player will play in the 2024 season for the Los Angeles Sparks. Nurse previously played for the Seattle Storm in 2023, the Phoenix Mercury in 2021, and the New York Liberty from 2018-2020. Canadian professional basketball player Bridget Carleton is staying with her WNBA team, the Minnesota Lynx, for the 2024 season. Her re-signing will be a two-year deal. Carleton has played for the Lynx since 2019 and the Connecticut Sun for a portion of the 2019 season.
Kaitlyn’s Sport Stories Recap are written by Kaitlyn Lehbert, a passionate and driven sport advocate for girls and women. Kaitlyn holds her Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management from Brock University. Learn more about Kaitlyn by clicking here!
Have a sport story you want to share? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and it may get featured in Kaitlyn’s next feature.