For the first time in over two years, professional women’s hockey will return to Calgary! It was March of 2019 when the former Calgary Inferno captured the Canadian Women’s Hockey League championship, the Clarkson Cup, a short time before the league then folded. However, the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association will be filling that space with a new Calgary-based tournament.
After the PWHPA announced a $1 million sponsorship pledge with Secret Deodorant last fall, the Calgary Flames organization has also financially partnered with the league to host the Canadian division of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association’s Secret Deodrant Dream Gap Tour. The round robin formatted tournament will feature’s the league’s three Canadian squads: Team Scotiabank based in Calgary, Team Sonnet based in Toronto, and Team Bauer based in Montreal. The squads will square off to crown the first ever Canadian Secret Cup Champions.
While no specific games and times are yet announced, we now know the tournament will run May 24th to 30th. Each team will play each other twice for a total of six games each, and the top two will meet in a winner take all championship final game. No specific Calgary venue has been announced to host the three team bubble, which will have no fans in attendance in accordance with local COVID-19 protocols, as noted in an official press release from the PWHPA:
“The Canadian leg of the North American Secret Dream Gap Tour is scheduled to take place in a quarantined environment. The Calgary event will follow extensive protocols and procedures to prioritize player and personnel health and safety, including mandatory quarantine, daily COVID-19 screening, regular PCR testing privately acquired through DynaLIFE, and isolated accommodations.”
While no spectators can view in-person, Sportsnet will be the official national carrier of the tournament. The final three games will be broadcast on national telelvision feeds on May 28th, 29th, and 30th, while round robin games running the 24th to 27th will be shown on Sportsnet’s SN NOW streaming service. The network will also add exposure on Hockey Night In Canada, with a set of four documentaries featuring different women’s hockey players.
With the IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship recently being relocated and rescheduled, the Secret Dream Gap Tour is welcome news for fans of the women’s game. With additional financial support from the Calgary Flames, and coast-to-coast-to-coast exposure from Sportsnet, it’ll be a sure boon for women’s hockey.
Matchsticks & Gasoline will have more of the specifics as they become available!