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Hextall on Hockey: Rangers partnership proving women’s hockey matters

The PWHPA's Jayna Hefford during her 2019 induction into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

The New York Rangers just put the rest of the NHL on notice: women’s hockey matters.

The Rangers, in partnership with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) will host a 2021 Secret Dream Gap Tour game that will showcase the world’s best hockey players.

It will be the first professional women’s game at Madison Square Garden – hockey’s marquee arena.

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After all, if you can make it there — as they say — you can make it anywhere.

What I want everyone to pay attention to is the word “partnership.”

By hosting one game, the PWHPA will be elevated through its association with the Rangers brand, exposure to its fanbase and the Rangers corporate relationships. This one game brings all these invaluable assets to the PWHPA.

Read more: Canadian women’s hockey team reunites after 10-month pandemic separation

Now imagine if, in addition to the Rangers, the 30 other NHL teams followed suit and each hosted one game. That’s a 30-game schedule.

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Imagine if women’s hockey had access to 30 more NHL teams’ fanbases and corporate partners.

Imagine if NHL players, management, and ownership of 30 other teams formed partnerships to elevate women’s hockey and give a platform to the PWHPA that produced a consistent collaboration between the league and the women’s game.

Imagine if all 31 NHL owners used their next annual meeting in Florida and told commissioner Gary Bettman it was time to start creating an infrastructure for a Women’s National Hockey League.

I imagine if that happened, the Dream Gap Tour would become extinct as the gap would disappear and the dreams of young girls who aspire to play professional hockey but don’t have the option to make it a career today could come true.

Imagine that.

Click to play video: 'Women’s hockey continues to grow' Women’s hockey continues to grow
Women’s hockey continues to grow – Aug 29, 2019

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