Changes are ahead for the PWHPA in the 2020-21 season!
For their second year, the organization has restructured their regional training hubs down to five — New Hampshire, Minnesota, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. Buffalo and Tri-State were removed from the list, and the two Toronto groups were merged into one.
The regions will “aim to provide players with improved access to resources such as full-time dressing rooms, access to strength and conditioning facilities, support staff and coaches,” some of the main tenets the PWHPA is looking for in a professional league.
Each training hub will feature rosters of 25 active players who can play in showcases. Players will have to try out for these spots. The regions will play regional games as well. Last season, the rosters for each showcase varied greatly as did the amount of non Dream Gap Tour games each region played.
In addition, each region has a dedicated general manager, per their website. Calgary’s general manager will be Becky McGee; Justin Johnson will head Minnesota; Daniele Sauvageau is in charge of Montreal; Bill Flanagan in New Hampshire and Rebecca Michaels is in Toronto.
In the press release, the organization says these changes come from player feedback and “aim to improve the player experience and continue to make strides towards building a professional environment for the players.”
“We listened to our players from last season, and the feedback was very consistent in ways that we could improve the PWHPA experience,” Jayna Hefford, PWHPA Operations Consultant, said in the release. “It was a priority for us to increase the level of commitment and to provide additional resources for our athletes to develop and perform at the highest level.”
She continued on to say players who do not live in official training regions have opportunities to be involved with the organization.
“The new structure provides players with a more professional training environment on a regular basis which will allow us to put the best product of women’s professional hockey on the ice daily,” said Kendall Coyne Schofield, two time Olympian and president of the PWHPA board in the release.
Last season, the PWHPA played six Dream Gap Tour stops with around 150 different players rostered for those games. However, the rosters changed every stop. They also played various PWHPA Live! games in different regions, where PWHPA players played each other or local teams.
Editor’s Note: this story was updated to include the general manager names.