After three Dream Gap tour stops this fall, the PWHPA is heading back to the locker rooms to plan their 2020 stops.
The pause in their schedule until the New Year begins makes sense. A chunk of the players have National Team commitments with the joint training camp in Pittsburgh next week and the Rivalry Series in Hartford on Dec. 14. It also give the board and its players more time to plan, organize, and execute the next stops, wherever they may be.
However, we do have an inkling of at least one location. While the organization hasn’t announced it, the Lamoureuxs were in Philadelphia to promote a 2020 Dream Gap stop at a Flyers game.
Let’s take a look at five possible cities the tour could stop at next.
All signs point to Montréal. The only players who played in all three Dream Gap tour stops were from the Montréal group. They’ve also been the most active, hosting a golf tournament and exhibitions. Meg Hewings was Team Poulin/Knight’s general manager in Toronto and New Hampshire respectively. Montréal also has some of the most dedicated fans. They regularly sold out CWHL games. In Toronto, former Les Canadiennes fans were out in full force for Team Poulin. It wouldn’t surprise me to see this as the PWHPA’s first stop in 2020.
The New Jersey Devils had a few PWHPA players at a game in October to promote the Dream Gap tour, even though the closest stop was in Hudson, New Hampshire. The players are practicing out of the Devil’s practice arena. The logical step is to host a Dream Gap tour there as well. The Chicago stop had the backing of the Blackhawks, including a clinic for young girls and the players were at the game the night before the tour started. Newark’s stop could look very similar, and be as successful as Chicago, which sold out weeks before the puck dropped.
The toughest part of Madison is not conflicting with the Wisconsin Badger’s schedule so as not to split the audience. But the city is a women’s hockey hot bed and numerous PWHPA players are Badger alumna, including Anne Pankowski, Hilary Knight, and Brianna Decker. There are numerous youth programs in the area to draw fans from as well.
Thus far, the three stops have been in traditional hockey markets (Toronto, New England, and Chicago). But why not bring the Dream Gap and PWHPA to a non-traditional market? PWHPA board member Alyssa Gagliardi has a successful brand of girls’ hockey camps based in Raleigh, but also extended across the state. She undoubtedly has connections to tap into, plus it fits in well with the PWHPA mission of showcasing women’s hockey.
San Jose, CA
Another non-traditional hockey market — sorry not sorry. The PWHPA played an exhibition against the San Jose Sharks alumni in October, and with Kendall Coyne Schofield joining their broadcast team, this would be one more connection between her and the city.