PWHPA season begins this weekend in Montreal

The four teams begin the 2022-23 Dream Gap Tour in an all new format

The PWHPA will kick off its fourth season this weekend in Montreal. The four teams will play two games for a total of four games from Oct 15-16. Fans can attend the games in person or watch online with CBC.

Players will travel to Quebec to join their teams for the first time this year and compete in season-opening matches.

The PWHPA is not a traditional league; there is no signing or trading of players. Players are joined together in a collective while waiting for the creation of a sustainable pro women’s hockey league. They train in five cities and come together on showcase weekends across North America.

In previous years, the PWHPA formed its teams based on geographic location. Each training hub formed a team to compete in the tour of showcases. The teams were extremely uneven, so to solve the issue, the four PWHPA teams will be “region agnostic” this year. The PWHPA ranked and evenly divided players into four squads. Players will continue to train with others in their local area but shuffle into the four teams at each tour stop.

Each showcase weekend will not be an independent tournament as in previous years. Games played in showcase weekends will all cumulate to a PWHPA winner being crowned at the end of the year.

Centre 21.02, a high-performance training centre for women’s hockey, will host the Montreal Showcase. Dozens of PWHPA and national team players conduct much of their training at 21.02 with their coaches. This will be the second PWHPA showcase to take place at Centre 21.02.

Team Scotiabank vs. Team Sonnet Oct. 15, 1:30 p.m. ET

The weekend will open with a clash between the offensive Scotiabank and defensive Sonnet. Claire Thompson and Erin Ambrose will lead the attempt to shut down Scotiabank stars like Alex Carpenter and Mélodie Daoust. Missing Brigette Lacquette will hurt Scotiabank on the back end. I think Scotiabank will jump out to an early lead, but late greasy goals from Sonnet will bring them back into the game.

Team Harvey’s vs. Team adidas Oct. 15, 4:15 p.m. ET

The goaltending battle many have been waiting to see is the great one, Ann-Renée Desbiens, against Aerin Frankel, who many hail to be the next great one. The young and the old will face off regardless of who is in net. Frankel and Maddie Rooney will dress for adidas, and Desbiens and Geneviève Lacasse for Harvey’s.

Adidas will be missing Amanda Kessel, one of their key forwards, but the team is deep with power forwards like Sarah Nurse set to dominate. Depth is a struggle for Harvey’s, whose offensive strength wanes down the lineup.

While I expect goaltending to shine, I think adidas will win this one easily.

The games will continue Sunday.

Team adidas vs. Team Scotiabank Oct. 16, 1:30 p.m. ET

Team Sonnet vs. Team Harvey’s Oct. 16, 4:15 p.m. ET

CBC Sports will broadcast all four games.