Saturday, 27 February 2021

A Big Weekend

I'm not sure about you, but I'm pretty pumped for a weekend of women's hockey live from New York City. Normally, I'd be knee-deep in Canada West women's hockey playoffs and looking at results from across the country when it came to the U SPORTS National Championship which was supposed to happen in Montreal, but this year, as you're very aware, has been anything but normal. Seeing the best women's players on the planet gathering at Madison Square Garden for a couple of games of high-intensity hockey is what I've been craving for a while now, and that will be delivered today and tomorrow!

First, however, there's some business to address before we settle in for the games. As you may know, the PWHPA is working towards finding a future for women's hockey where women can be professional hockey players as an everyday job without having to work other full-time jobs. While they're aligning themselves with NHL teams such as the New York Rangers, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Toronto Maple Leafs, there's still work to be done on the professional women's hockey league front before anyone starts celebrating.

These ladies are pursuing their respective careers currently, and none of them have "hockey player" as their primary job despite a lot of them playing on Olympic teams and getting their educations paid for through athletic scholarships. There needs to be a future where hockey can be a full-time profession, but, right now, all we can do is support them as best as we can.

That's where you come in because you can make an impact! If you missed the social media posts, the PWHPA is selling player jerseys where 50% of each sale goes back to the respective player you get on the back of the jersey while the other 50% goes into a pot to be distributed among all the players! Not only that, but if you choose to not have a name on the back, 100% of those funds go into that collective pot to be split among the players! On top of that, the PWHPA store has a ton of player-centric merchandise and PWHPA merchandise for sale too!

Of course, you might be saying, "Teebz, you should put your money where your mouth is," and that's entirely fair. I shouldn't ask you to spend your hard-earned dollars if I'm just going to talk the talk and not walk the walk. Except the image above is from my order for a Team Scotiabank Calgary jersey with #27 Jordy Zacharias on it. I'm proud to support the former Bisons forward after all the interviews and time she gave us throughout the years on The Hockey Show and Bisons Sports broadcasts, so this was an easy decision for me when it came to supporting Jordy's dream!

If you're a Canada West women's hockey fan, there are other options as well. The Scotiabank Calgary team will see Brigette Lacquette (Manitoba) wear #4 , Kaitlin Willoughby (Saskatchewan) as #17, Iya Gavrilova (Calgary) as #88, and Alex Poznikoff (Alberta) as #16 when they play. Maybe you're more into the Sonnet Insurance Toronto team who features a ton of CWHL and Olympic stars like #24 Natalie Spooner, #19 Brianna Jenner, #20 Sarah Nurse, and #47 Jamie Lee Rattray among some of my favorite players like #10 Shannon Stewart, Winnipegger #48 Alexis Woloschuk, and goaltenders #27 Erica Howe and #34 Amanda Makela. The only drawback is that Team Quebec's jerseys weren't ready for this release, so if you're looking for a Marie-Philip Poulin, Melodie Daoust, Ann-Sophie Bettez, or Genevieve Lacasse jersey, you'll have to wait a little while longer.

Of course that brings us to the two teams playing tonight in Team Minnesota and Team New Hampshire and who could be worn on the back of those jerseys. If you're a Team Minnesota fan, you may want to invest in a jersey featuring Winnipegger #28 Ryleigh Houston, Finnish goaltending legend #41 Noora Raty, US Olympian #21 Hilary Knight, or Wisconsin Badger standout Abby Roque. Team New Hampshire features their own star-studded lineup for your jersey selection as you'll see goaltender #33 Alex Cavallini, #13 Brianna Decker, #28 Amanda Kessel, and Ohio State standout #23 Jincy Dunne wear the white jerseys tonight.

Of course, those players in the paragraph above are just a small sample of the players who will be on the ice at Madison Square Garden tonight, so you're probably asking how you watch them play. The good news is that CBC is the official streaming partner of the PWHPA this weekend, so tonight's game will be featured on the CBC streaming platform at 6:30pm CT/7:30pm ET!

The bad news is that if CBC airs this game with the choppiness of the U SPORTS National Championship last season, it might be the last chance for CBC to be the official anything of the PWHPA. There's nothing worse than watching a buffering stream of live hockey, so tonight's game should give U SPORTS hockey fans a good idea on whether or not CBC has fixed their streaming platform for future U SPORTS events. Keep an eye on this one as the night progresses and more and more people tune in!

Of course, tomorrow is the big night for women's hockey across network TV as Team Minnesota will face off against Team New Hampshire live on the NHL Network in the US and Sportsnet in Canada at 7pm ET! Having women's hockey back on network TV in both Canada and the US is exciting, and I'm pumped for it despite the Canadian teams not participating. At this point, seeing the PWHPA getting its shot on television is long overdue in my mind, and I'm expecting a heckuva game from the two American squads!

If you can and it's within your means, please support the women of the PWHPA. If you support the other women's league, that's good too, but they pay less back to the players when it comes to merchandise sales. In the end, though, you're supporting women's hockey one way or another, and that's the goal of all this - support the women who are pushing for professional hockey as a primary job. If men can dream about playing pro hockey, women should be able to have the same dream.

Enjoy the games this weekend, folks. I know I will!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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