Balanced attack propels Canadian female hockey players to victory over PWHPA All-Star


The Canadian women’s hockey team’s 5-1 victory over the PWHPA All-Star on Saturday was a win-win for Hockey Hall of Fame member Jayna Hefford.

Almost all of the players on the ice were members of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association, which she heads.

The PWHPA was born from the ashes of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which closed in 2019 after a dozen years.

The PWHPA hosts tournaments and demonstration games for members to support a sustainable women’s professional league that offers the same competitive and financial support as male professionals.

The majority of national team players in Canada and the United States are members of the PWHPA, but cannot participate in the PWHPA events this winter while in residence with their respective Olympic teams.

For example, a two-game series pitting the PWHPA All-Stars against the Canadian Women’s Team in front of fans at the Markin MacPhail Center was a godsend for Hefford.

“People get to see the national team play, not enough, but they see them play,” said Hefford. “I think it shows that the talent within the sport runs deeper than that of each country’s top 20 players.

“These women are all fighting for the same thing, no matter what team they are on today.”

Natalie Spooner and Sarah Fillier each contributed a goal and an assist to Canada’s victory on Saturday two days after beating the All-Star 3-2 in Game 1.

Jamie Lee Rattray, Rebecca Johnston and Kristin O’Neill also scored and Victoria Bach collected two assists for Canada. Goalkeeper Emerance Maschmeyer stopped 12 of 13 shots for the win.

Jessie Eldridge scored for the all-star and goaltender Kassidy Sauve repelled 46 of 51 shots in the loss.

The Canadians have been centralized in Calgary since July in preparation for the February Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.

Three of the 29 players invited to centralize were released earlier this month, leaving 26 still on trial for an Olympic roster of 23 players to be named later this month.

Hefford is familiar with this process having won four Olympic gold medals with Canada during her career.

The PWHPA all-star roster included women who have played for Canada at World Championships or Olympic Games before – Loren Gabel, Sarah Potomak, Brigette Lacquette and Laura Fortino – as well as Eldridge who was among the released players. centralized alignment of Canada.

“Certainly moving” match

“I think there are a lot of emotions right now with players on both sides,” Hefford said. “In our room, there are a lot of people who have a link with the [Canadian] program.

“They’ve been there and maybe trying to come back, so definitely emotional, but every time we come to a PWHPA event there’s this overarching mission and unity among women.”

The hugs and chats between opposing players after the game reflected this solidarity as the two teams reunited for a team photo.

“Were [in] such a bubble here in Calgary, we focus on ourselves, but we are part of the PWHPA, ”said Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin. “We want to create this league.

“We are so lucky to have these ladies where they still keep this association alive. I recognize it so much.”

Series canceled in Japan

The PWHPA hosted a flagship tournament Nov. 12-14 in Truro, Nova Scotia, and another is scheduled for Dec. 18-19 in Toronto with a final at Scotiabank Arena.

A series scheduled for January in Japan against that country’s women’s national team has been called off due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, but Hefford says more events are in the works for 2022.

The Canadians resume their rivalry streak against the United States on Wednesday in St. Louis, followed by another game against the Americans on Friday. Canada lead the nine-game series with a 2-1-1 record, but have lost two in a row at home.

The two games against the All-Star were Canadian defender Meaghan Mikkelson’s first with the national team since sustaining a serious knee injury in May.

Since her surgery in June, the three-time Olympian has been struggling to come back in time for the chance to play in a fourth.

“All I asked for was a chance and an opportunity,” said the 36-year-old defenseman from St. Albert, Alta.

“I definitely took the time to recognize that what I have done is already a huge accomplishment. It was unlikely that I was going to be able to make it.

“Yes, I’m happy to be back and have two games under my belt, but I’m even more excited now to play against the Americans.”


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