It’s not the NHL, but the Canadian Women’s Hockey League has professional status in its sights — along with improved TV ratings, better attendance and, ultimately, salaries for the players.
For more on this story visit the Toronto Star: http://on.thestar.com/2mw1IJg
Or read an excerpt of Mary Ormsby’s article below:
Meet the Toronto Furies: The women of winter carving their mark on the hockey rink
It’s not the NHL, but the Canadian Women’s Hockey League has professional status in its sights — along with improved TV ratings, better attendance and, ultimately, salaries for the players
Howling Greek sister-goddesses who seek justice are painted across Sami Jo Small’s goalie mask; their dark manes streaming, eyes alight. Athena, goddess of wisdom and war, is depicted with the Furies — her shield raised, sword drawn for battle.
“I wanted images of strong women capable of laying down the law,” said Small, a three-time Olympian and an original member of women’s professional hockey team Toronto Furies – named so by fans in a contest.
The Toronto team’s ability to lay down the hockey law will be tested in a Canadian Women’s Hockey League semifinal this weekend.
The Furies, based at Etobicoke’s MasterCard Centre, are in Calgary for a playoff series with the top-seeded Inferno (Montreal and Brampton are in the other semi) to determine who advances to the CWHL’s championship, the Clarkson Cup, on March 5.
“Calgary is an amazing team,” said Furies forward Jess Vella of the best-of-three series played in the Alberta city.
“We’re really going to have to play a perfect game and work as a team . . . and who doesn’t like going into the playoffs with the underdog label?”
The label could apply to female hockey players in general.
The Furies lead busy lives away from the rink before heading off to two weeknight practices in preparation for a pair of weekend games. Players are either post-grad students with part-time jobs or they log 40-hour weeks to pursue careers like teaching, sales, health and wellness, public speaking and entrepreneurship.
In a nation obsessed with the game and besotted by those who embody male excellence — NHLers and to a lesser extent, the Team Canada juniors every Christmas — the world’s best female players, contained in this decade-old league, continue to push their way into the public consciousness one game, one playoff round, one Sportsnet broadcast at a time.