Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Helping The Girls

I haven't written much about the CWHL simply because I don't have access to their games. There are teams in Boston, Brampton, Toronto, and Montreal, so I'm kind of limited as to the amount of action I can catch in person and on television. In fact, the total amount of time spent watching CWHL action this season is zero. Would I like to see more? Well, since the total can only go up, I'd say yes. There are some great hockey players in the Canadian Women's Hockey League, and I think they deserve a chance to show off their abilities on TSN or CBC like the men do. Even if the women only get one game per week in a less-than-primetime slot, it's better than nothing.

Well, it appears that two women's teams will be getting a hand from their NHL brethren as they move forward. The Toronto Furies and the new Alberta-based CWHL team will receive assistance from the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Calgary Flames, respectively. While this isn't like the NBA propping up the WNBA teams, there appears to be a healthy relationship between each team in the two pairings, and that should bode well for the future.

According to the Toronto press release, the Leafs will assist the Furies by helping to "support women's hockey and assist in providing elite athletes with a competitive, development-focused place to play. The Maple Leafs also announced that the Furies' game against Team Alberta on Saturday, November 17 will be relocated to Air Canada Centre and will be free for all hockey fans to come out and celebrate our game."

Free hockey in Toronto? If I had the means, you know I'd be there. There will be a pre-game autograph session at Gate 1 with Leafs' Alumni Wendel Clark (a Mo' Bro All-Star), Gary Leeman, Johnny Bower and former Olympians Jennifer Botterill, Geraldine Heaney, Cheryl Pounder, and Hockey Hall of Famer Angela James. The gates open 6:30PM and the puck drop is 7:30PM. Free hockey on Saturday night with an autograph session - SWEET! But there's more to the Leafs' commitment than just some mentoring and a free game!
"The Maple Leafs will invest $30,000 annually for five years towards coaching costs and to help offset equipment, uniforms and travel expenses. The Furies will also receive support through the team website, at Leafs home games and on Leafs TV. Toronto Furies’ players and coaches will also be invited to participate in other Leafs Community & Sports Partnerships initiatives including Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest, Tim Hortons Toronto Maple Leafs Coaches’ Open House and Scotiabank Girls Only Learn to Skate Clinics."
Monetary contributions, coaching, publicity, and working to get more girls into hockey? It sounds like the Maple Leafs are doing everything they can to reach out to the fairer sex in terms of the partnership with the Furies. The Furies will certainly benefit from all that they are being given, and their players can become role models for some of the girls attending the clinics. All in all, it looks like a win-win for all the parties involved!

Meanwhile across the country, the Calgary Flames - a frequent trading partner with the Maple Leafs - held their own press conference to announce a partnership. The newly-formed Team Alberta and the Calgary Flames will work together to promote the growth of women's hockey through joint efforts in marketing, social media, ticketing, sponsorship and player community involvement opportunities. If you're a season tickey holder to any of the Flames, Hitmen, NLL's Roughnecks or CFL's Stampeders, for the remainder of the 2012-13 CWHL season you can receive complimentary access to any of Team Alberta’s home games at WinSport simply by showing your season ticket ID. How cool is that - free tickets!

There has always been very good to outstanding hockey players who have fallen to the wayside simply because they had nowhere to play. Female hockey players, however, had only their national teams to strive for as there was no solid professional league that they could join. With the support of the Leafs and Flames, it appears the CWHL is finally finding a place for women's players to play.

MO' BRO: Mike Gartner, Wendel Clark, Dirk Graham, Grant Fuhr, Dennis Maruk, Larry Robinson, Mike Ramsey, Derek Sanderson, Lanny McDonald, Bryan Trottier, Dave Babych, and Dave Schultz are the current Mo' Bro All-Stars, and we'll add another moustachioed great today as we look back on Rod Langway's moustachioed career!

Rod Langway's career started in Montreal where he was regarded as one of the best young defencemen to enter the league. Born in Taiwan where his father was a US serviceman, Langway actually spent one season with the WHA's Birmingham Bulls before joining the Montreal Canadiens. Langway would capture the Stanley Cup as a Canadien in his rookie season, and he was key cog on the blueline for Les Canadiens. In 1982-83, he was traded to the Washington Capitals where the fortunes for the team changed immediately. In all 11 seasons that Langway played for them, the Capitals never once missed the playoffs! The "Secretary of Defense" earned the 1983 and 1984 Norris Trophies, and went to six NHL All-Star Games. While 329 points in 994 NHL games doesn't seem like huge numbers, Langway's defensive prowess was heralded in Washington and helped him gain entry into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Rod Langway is another fine moustachioed addition to the Mo' Bro All-Stars, and he wore the upper lip fuzz for almost his entire 14-year NHL career. In an interesting bit of news, he was the first American to be named as a started in the All-Star Game since Frank Brimsek in 1948! All that, and a great 'stache! If you want to get in on the action, head over to the Movember page and get registered so your 'stache can stand amongst these great 'staches!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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