The PWHPA (Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association) announced its first partnership of 2021 with the New York Rangers on Wednesday, February 3rd. On February 28th at 7:00pmET, the Rangers will play host to the very first stop of the Secret® Dream Gap Tour.
By partnering with an NHL team, they have an amazing opportunity to help boost visibility for women in the sport. In a statement from Jayna Hefford, PWHPA Operations Consultant, she said in a joint press release, “They (the NHL) bring major brand strength, corporate relationships and access to a fan base. I want to thank the New York Rangers and Bauer Hockey for helping us reach this achievement.”
For the first time in history, the Rangers are bringing pro women’s hockey to Madison Square Garden. Supporting the tour’s first game is Chase, who will serve as the presenting sponsor. Leslie Gillin, Chief Marketing Officer for JP Morgan Chase, said of the partnership they’ve forged for this event, “We’re excited to be a part of this historical moment that will help advance women in professional hockey and give these incredible players a platform to show off their skills to the world.”
As a female in sports journalism, I am thrilled to see this happening! In recent years, amazing advances have been made regarding gender equality and women’s visibility in sports. For a long time, there have been major biases and discrimination inhibiting this growth. Women and girls have been isolated and segregated into certain types of sports based on gender stereotypes.
Value and visibility of women’s sports is often marginalized and placed on a lower pedestal and not afforded the same perceptions of physical strength and power that are most often portrayed in male sport.
Encouraging girls and women in sports is important and it helps utilize the potential that sports have to help empower them. Supporting women in sports also offers opportunities for leadership development. “Investing in and advancing women’s hockey strengthens the game overall and creates a range of professional opportunities for women as coaches, front office executives and athletes,” said Mary-Kay Messier, VP of Global Marketing for Bauer Hockey. Kay-Messier was recently appointed as a senior advisor to the PWHPA.
This announcement came on February 3rd, marking the 35th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day in the United States. The National Girls and Women in Sports Day acknowledges the achievements of female athletes, recognizes the importance of equal opportunities in sports for females and also honours progress and the continuing battle for equality for women in sports.
To learn more about the PWHPA and the Secret Dream Gap Tour, visit pwhpa.com.