The PWHPA announced plans for its third season today which included a few noteworthy details for the third installment of the Dream Gap Tour.
Chief among those details is that there will be five training hubs again for the 2021-22 season, but with a change. Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Minnesota will all return as hubs. However, Boston will replace New Hampshire. The PWHPA said in an email to The Ice Garden that the staff for Boston will be announced soon.
This move makes sense on a lot of levels. First off, the New Hampshire general manager, head coach, and the owner of the rink they played out of, Bill Flanagan, was recently hired as the Director of Scouting (USA) for the NWHL. So, we expected a big change or a relocation of the New Hampshire hub. Second, moving to Boston, instead of a rink that was about 40 miles away from Boston, will hopefully make it easier for fans to attend a potential Dream Gap Tour stop or any other events the training location might have. It should also help recruit players since having a home rink closer to job opportunities is always better.
Speaking of Dream Gap Tour stops, the organization is planning its third installment of the Tour and will include prizes and event championships, similar to last season. The PWHPA hopes to have 5-6 stops, they revealed in an email to The Ice Garden, with all events and cross-border play subject to COVID restrictions. Teams will also have the opportunity for inter-region games and games against local teams, the PWHPA said in their news release.
Last season, the PWHPA had a US Dream Gap Tour between Minnesota and New Hampshire. The two teams faced off six times in three different cities with Minnesota winning the US Secret Cup. For the Canadian Dream Gap Tour, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto played a week-long tournament in a quarantined environment in Calgary with Montreal taking home the Canadian Secret Cup.
Obviously, all of these plans hinge on COVID-19, vaccines, and variants, but it would be fantastic to see some cross-country play. I’m sure Minnesota and New Hampshire/Boston players are tired of playing each other too.
The organization also announced that player registration is open, and will remain open until September. Tryouts for the teams will happen after that. Registration for new players is open to any player who played at least one year at the collegiate level.
At least 42 roster spots are up for grabs as US and Canadian National Team players will be centralized for the 2021-22 campaign. The PWHPA said that Laura Fortino, Geneviève Lacasse, Annie Pankowski, Ann-Sophie Bettez, Erica Howe, Loren Gabel, and Sarah Potomak are all set to return to their respective hubs.