Unifor Women’s Hockey Showcase media conference
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Thursday, September 19, 2019
It’s been almost five months since the Canada Women’s Hockey League folded and since then, several of its former participants have been collaborating and working towards finding a solution.
On September 21 and 22, the best female hockey players in North America will compete in the first stop of the PWHPA (Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association) Dream Gap Tour to showcase women’s hockey and rally support for the future of the game.
This morning, a media conference was held at the Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto to promote the official kick-off of the Tour, sponsored by Unifor. The conference featured some of the Tour’s key ambassadors: Jayna Hefford (PWHPA Operations Consultant), Jerry Dias (Unifor National President), Sarah Nurse (Olympian), and Renata Fast (Olympian).
“Our goal is to create something sustainable for the next generation,” said Hefford, a five-time Olympian, “create a dream for young girls.”
Hefford, along with Nurse and Fast, alluded to the powerful unity among players from both Canada and the United States that has occurred since the collapse of the CWHL back in May. There is undoubtedly a common goal, a long-term vision, and Unifor wants to be part of the solution.
“Unifor stepped up to support women’s hockey,” said Dias, “we want to ensure that major Canadian corporations can participate and get on board as well…get together and fix this problem.”
Dias alluded to the broader social issues, such as the gender wage gap, and says that Unifor views the collapse of the CWHL as a “national embarrassment.”
“There’s something incredibly wrong. It’s completely unacceptable for a nation who prides itself with hockey.”
Nurse says she knew at the age of seven she wanted to be a professional hockey player, but realized the difference in perception of what she wanted to be compared to her cousin, Darnell (now a member of the Edmonton Oilers). She remembers people believing in Darnell, but always told her she’d need a real job.
“Women’s hockey is viewed as a hobby and not a career… we need to create a legitimacy. In an ideal world, our league would be comparable to men’s, but it doesn’t happen overnight.”
The Tour will make two other stops, in Hudson, New Hampshire (October 4-6) and Chicago, Illinois (October 18-20).
“It will give people an opportunity to see us, understand what we’re fighting for,” said Fast.
Fans will be able to engage with the players and celebrate a greater tomorrow for the game.
Games will be held at Westwood Arena in Etobicoke.
Saturday 12:30pm – Team Johnston vs. Team Jenner
Saturday 3:30pm – Team Poulin vs. Team Knox
Sunday 9:30am – Team Johnston vs. Team Knox
Sunday 12:30am – Team Poulin vs. Team Jenner