Skip to content

KAITLYN’S SPORT STORIES RECAP: May 15, 2024

In this 21st edition, we learn more about the WNBA Toronto team’s successful franchise bid, with the team beginning play in 2026. We also learn more about the Canadian women’s relay team’s qualification for the 2024 Summer Paris Olympics and the impressive statistics shared by the PWHL from their inaugural regular season. Lastly, we learn more about the Edmonton WNBA game and the positive moments of impact that were left on the city.

The stories of the week show young girls and women in sport and physical activity that:

  • The opportunity for the WNBA to finally come to Canada is going to grow the women’s sports landscape in so many ways, from Canadian viewership numbers to fans attending games to more jobs for athletes and coaches, and very importantly, to young girls who now have a clear example of a more attainable opportunity in their future.
  • The Canadian women’s relay team set an example of forward progress after not qualifying for the Olympics since 2016 and a moment of optimism, as we’ll soon be able to see how their Olympic run will play out.
  • The impressive statistics from the PWHL’s first season serve as a reminder that there is still so much to look forward to in the future. The league is still in its early years, but the future is looking very bright.
  • The success of the WNBA Edmonton game shows how impactful a single sporting event can be on a city’s future. Opportunities like showcasing a sold-out game to 16,000+ fans in a new city and market and having a WNBA-themed basketball court in one of Edmonton’s schools are effective steps to lay the groundwork for growing women’s basketball in Canada.

A Momentous Step Forward for Women’s Sport in Canada: a WNBA Toronto Team

Photo from Toronto Star

There’s no better way to wake up on a Friday morning than finding out that Toronto has been successfully rewarded the 14th Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) franchise spot and, thus, our own team!

CBC Sports journalist Shireen Ahmed was the one to break the news. She was also the one to spearhead the news in March 2024 when there were first talks about Toronto businessman and billionaire Larry Tanenbaum and his holding company, the Kilmer Group, to pursue a WNBA Toronto franchise bid. 

Alongside Tanenbaum, former NBA Toronto Raptors vice president of operations and player development Teresa Resch is rumored to be part of the organization.

Ahmed reported that the team would be set to have their inaugural season begin two years from now, during the 2026 WNBA season.

The team will reportedly play its home games at Coca-Cola Coliseum, which is the new home of the PWHL Toronto team’s playoff games. 

The announcement comes a few days after the WNBA made a historic announcement: the league will be phasing in charter flights for WNBA teams this 2024 season.

An official WNBA Toronto announcement is set to be made on May 23rd, which should give more details about the successful franchise bid.

After the successful WNBA Toronto game a year ago, the telling WNBA viewership numbers of Canadian fans in recent years, the opening of Canada’s first WNBA-themed basketball court, Don Mount Court, and the WNBA Edmonton game, it is so rewarding to see that the potential for a WNBA team in Canada held and holds such obvious high potential and would be inevitably be destined for success.

Canadian Women’s Relay Team Qualifies for Olympics Since 2016

Photo from CBC Sports

The more Canadian women’s teams qualifying for the Paris Olympics, the better! During the 2024 World Athletics Relays in Nassau, Bahamas, the Canadian women’s 4 x 100 metre relay team got their desired outcome of the night- qualifying for the 2024 Summer Paris Olympics with their second-place win.

Athletes Sade McCreath, Marie-Éloïse Leclair, Audrey Leduc, and Crystal Emmanuel led the charge.

The last time the Canadian women’s team had qualified for the Olympics in their relay category was in 2016, with the summer Rio Olympics.

PWHL Releases Inaugural Regular Season Statistics Ahead of Playoff Series

Photo from PWHL.

It’s crazy to think back to January 2024, when the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) began its season, and how much success we’ve seen in just months of play.

The PWHL shared some of their most impressive statistics to summarize the impact made so far on their 2024 season.

Some of the most notable numbers included:

  • Six new attendance records for women’s professional hockey
  • A total of 1.04 million social media followers
  • 88 countries represented across the world through streaming viewers
  • Over 40 corporate partnerships
  • 238 million total social media impressions

With the playoffs currently taking place, there’s no doubt that we will see updated and new statistics that reflect the excitement that is making up the PWHL 2024 playoffs and finals coming up.

WNBA Edmonton Game Proves to Be Yet Another Success for the Canadian Women’s Basketball Scene

Photo from CTV News Edmonton.

The WNBA’s second annual Canada exhibition game, hosted in Edmonton, Alberta, served its purpose and then some.

Ahead of the Saturday night game, the WNBA installed lights across buildings in the city, projecting words like “Edmonton,” “WNBA Canada Game,” and the WNBA logo to celebrate the game. The light projections were said to be inspired by the Northern Lights. 

The exciting matchup included Canadian player Kia Nurse of the Los Angeles Sparks. Ahead of the game, Nurse took a moment to address the Canadian fans in the stands

The Los Angeles Sparks won 84-79, beating their opponents, the Seattle Storm. The attendance for the game was a whopping 16,655 fans, making it a sellout at Rogers Place.

One last positive impact the WNBA left on the city was a new basketball WNBA-themed court refresh for Wîhkwêntôwin School in Edmonton. Amarjeet Sohi, Mayor of Edmonton, also declared May 5th, 2024, as “Women and Girls in Sports Day In Edmonton.”

 

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 info@fastandfemale.com and it may get featured in Kaitlyn’s next feature.