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Looking Ahead to the PWHPA and NWSL Seasons


Guide to the PWHPA Secret Dream Gap Tour and the NWSL's upcoming sixth season.

November 26, 2020

The GIST: While the NHL’s January 1st start date may be in jeopardy and the Team Canada World Junior camp is in quarantine for two weeks, it’s a good thing we have women’s hockey to keep us entertained.

Give me the details: Ahead of the Secret Dream Gap Tour (and the inaugural Secret Cup), the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) have introduced a new Toronto-based team called Team Sonnet, named after the PWHPA’s big new partner, Sonnet Insurance.

  • Along with the unveiling of their sharp turquoise jerseys, the Toronto team also announced their star-studded roster that includes Sarah Nurse, Renata Fast, Natalie Spooner and Brianne Jenner. So stacked.

Tell me more: Meanwhile, the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) announced that their upcoming sixth season will be jam-packed into a two-week schedule. The league’s six teams will compete in a bubble environment in Lake Placid, NY, playing each other once before heading to a playoff round, then semifinals, and finally a one-game final for the Isobel Cup.

  • The bubble environment will accommodate the newest expansion team, Toronto Six, as the border to the U.S. remains closed. How thoughtful.

Wait, there are two leagues?: Not quite. The NWHL is a professional league in every sense, with set teams, a set schedule, player salaries (albeit very small), game broadcasts and plans to expand. The PWHPA, on the other hand, has a more fluid set-up, with a pool of players and showcase events in various cities.

  • The PWHPA was created in May 2019 after the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) folded. It has the support of over 200 of North America’s top hockey players and a steadfast mission “to provide a united voice to players advocating for the creation of a sustainable professional league.” Here, here!
  • They acknowledge the NWHL as a league, but not the league to officially represent women’s hockey at the highest level in North America.