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Nova Scotia to host the PWHPA

The first game of the 2021-22 Secret Dream Gap Tour will also be the first time that a professional women’s hockey game will be played in Atlantic Canada

Michelle Jay

The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association will play the first game of the 2021-22 Secret Dream Gap Tour in Novia Scotia this fall.

The Rath Eastlink Community Centre in Truro will host the teams from Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, and Boston on the first stop on the 2021-22 Secret Dream Gap Tour in a two day event.

“Hosting the PWHPA Dream Gap Tour is much more than just an event opportunity,” said Matt Moore, General Manager of the Rath Eastlink Community Centre in a press conference following the announcement, “It’s about demonstrating our commitment to the players, it’s about social wellbeing for our community, it’s about our unwavering promise to support equality in sport.”

PWHPA Operations Consultant, Jayna Hefford, who called into the press conference via Zoom, spoke about the importance of young children -not just girls- in Nova Scotia seeing women on the ice and in leadership roles. Hefford doesn’t just want her daughters to have women as role models, she wants her son to have that too.

“We are so excited to welcome the PWHPA Dream Gap Tour to our province and provide this platform for women’s hockey. This is an incredible opportunity for Nova Scotians to watch some of the best players in the world play the sport that they love. We believe this showcase will inspire girls in our province to chase their own hockey dreams because if you can see her, you can be her,” said Amy Walsh, Executive Director of Hockey NS.

When the puck drops on November 12, it will be the first time that a professional women’s hockey game will be played in Atlantic Canada.

The four teams will each play on game on Friday (matchups TBD), the winners of each game will advance to the championship game on Saturday, with the losers of the Friday games playing a consolation game. There will be cash prizes and points in the standings available. In addition to playing games, players will be out in the community taking part in skills clinics and speaking engagements with local girls’ hockey players and organizations.

The PWHPA always aims to inspire the next generation of women’s hockey players with their showcases, but that’s not the only reason that the region is interested in hosting. The fact is, the current generation of women’s hockey players is bankable and the showcase represents an economic opportunity for the region.

“This event will be significant to our recovery from the pandemic,” said Bill Mills, Mayor of Truro.

“We are incredibly excited at the opportunity to build a relationship with the PWHPA for the upcoming season, especially given the many challenges we have all faced along the way,” said Christine Blair, Mayor of Colchester County.

The NHL sized arena, which is the current home of the Truro Junior A Bearcats has a capacity of 3100. If all goes as predicted, Nova Scotia will move into Phase 5 of their reopening plan. There are no restrictions for gatherings in Phase 5, meaning that the PWHPA should be permitted to have fans in attendance.

Travel restrictions will remain in place in Phase 5. Everyone who enters the province from outside of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland must fill out an application to enter the province and provide documentation for their vaccination status. There will be different self-isolation and testing requirements based on whether or not they are unvaccinated, fully vaccinated, or partially vaccinated. Everyone who is not fully vaccinated will be required to isolate and be tested to some extent.

There will also likely be different requirements for players entering Nova Scotia from outside of Canada than there will for those who are already there. This will make it possible for Canadian and American hubs to play one another for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“I am thrilled that the PWHPA is finally making its way to Atlantic Canada,” said Hefford, “The opportunity to expand our reach and make an impact in local communities across North America is exciting, and we’re thankful for everyone who’s been involved in making this event come to fruition. I know the players are looking forward to playing in Nova Scotia and continuing the momentum from last season.”

Last season saw the association playing televised games at high profile venues such as Madison Square Garden in New York and the Saddledome in Calgary. Montreal won the Canadian championship and Minnesota won the American.