By: Jake Solomons | Follow me on Twitter! @jake_solomons
The PHF has had a very unconventional Christmas and New year’s break. The Covid-19 pandemic has presented the league with unfortunate circumstances at every turn, it seems, including the latest news out of the PHF. The All-Star Showcase was scheduled to take place on January 29, 2022, in Toronto, ON, Canada; However, with the health restrictions set in place by the province of Ontario, the game could no longer take place north of the border. What’s more, this would have been the first PHF/NWHL All-Star Game in Canada.
Difficult decisions are where the most successful outcomes take place. It was announced on Wednesday afternoon that the PHF All-Star Showcase would be relocated to Buffalo, NY, at the Northtown Center, home of the Buffalo Beauts. The relocation helps recognize the league’s effort to ensure player/staff/personnel safety and, of course, makes sure there is a healthy fanbase to cheer on the players.
“The All-Star Showcase is an important opportunity for our athletes to display their talent and skill, but also for our passionate fans to celebrate the very best in the PHF. Given Ontario’s current restrictions we made the determination that shifting the event across the border to Buffalo provides more clarity for our planning to ensure a special experience can be delivered for our athletes. Our appreciation is extended to the Beauts and the team at Northtown Center for their accommodation under these timelines. I’d also like to acknowledge the Six and the team at Canlan Sports – York who have been tremendous partners throughout this process. We look forward to returning the PHF All-Star Showcase to Toronto in 2023.”Tyler Tumminia, PHF Commissioner
Although the league will have to relocate, the jerseys and logo will stay the same; for the most part. The All-Star Game logo was initially sporting a CN Tower graphic which the Electric Tower in Buffalo has replaced. Elements of the CN Tower are still visible as it provides influence from the original design. However, the best part about the game’s design elements is the jerseys. Unconventional and vibrant are two adjectives to describe the three sweaters featured in the game.
Those are funky, fresh, and most undoubtedly creative. The lines and curves on the front may be confusing, but it’s actually a street map of the city of Toronto. The map design is quirky but memorable, and to grow a sport, get eyes on your game, you have to stand out. The colors are a little to be desired. However, they pop out as the colors don’t follow any PHF team’s color scheme. It makes these jerseys unique because it expresses, “you earned these colors.” To wear your home team’s colors is special, but wearing the All-Star colors is a very sought-after accomplishment for any player. If we were to grade these jerseys, I would give them an 8/10 would be a pretty acceptable score.
The theme for this year’s All-Star festivities is “breaking boundaries.” The initial meaning behind the theme was to express the first-ever All-Star game that would feature teams from the USA and Canada playing together across the border in Canada. A somewhat literal meaning but “breaking boundaries” is a concept far more underlying than just a geographical line on a map.
Women’s hockey has been marginalized and typecast to an inferior level than the men’s for FAR too long. The PHF has worked extremely hard to build a brand that ensures a future for its players to grow and a league that has the opportunity to extend beyond the limits society puts on women’s sports. Over the Christmas and New Year’s break, the PHF has coordinated long-term partnerships with Upper Deck Trading Cards, Warrior Hockey equipment as their primary provider, and team-specific sponsorships with brands like Athleta clothing.
An essential step in the long-term growth of the PHF and its players as a collective, team representatives conducted a series of interviews searching for the next Executive Director of the PHF Players Association. After much deliberation by the players, the PHFPA announced Alex Sinatra as the new Executive Director. Following the announcement, Sinatra expressed her excitement about getting started with the PHFPA.
“I am honored to be selected by the players of the PHF to serve as the Executive Director of the Players’ Association. The Grit, determination, and work ethic of these players is inspiring They are champions on and off the ice and I couldn’t be more proud to serve them. We want to change the sport of hockey for the better and continue to create opportunities for both current and future players.”Alex Sinatra, Executive Director, PHFPA
Former PHFPA (then NWHLPA) Director Anya Packer, now serving as the General Manager of the Metropolitan Riveters, echoed the same sentiments as many of the players in excitement for a new Executive Director.
“I am beyond excited to pass the torch to @YourPotential4, the players deserve to continue to have more and better. In my final year at the helm I recognized how much the PA would benefit from new leadership. I am proud to see such an incredible selection!! #InvestInWomen”Anya Packer, General Manager, Metropolitan Riveters
A Second Half Look Ahead
The Boston Pride have settled into 2022 with a 6-2 record and currently sit in third place in the PHF standings. Ahead of Boston, the Toronto Six stand atop the PHF with a 7-1-1 record, while the Connecticut Whale sit in second at 6-3-1. The Pride has had a rather unfortunate past couple of weeks as they’ve had four games postponed against the Metropolitan Riveters and Buffalo Beauts. The coronavirus has plagued the league with stoppages and rescheduling games, but it certainly speaks volumes to the PHF to ensure those games get played.
When will they be played? Rumor has it that the Pride/Riveters games will be scheduled in early March. We’ll only have two make-up games left against the Buffalo Beauts, if that is correct. The Pride will take on the Beauts at home in a regularly scheduled weekend series on February 26 and 27, 2022, at Warrior Ice Arena. The Pride has six of their next ten games at home, which serves them well as they are currently undefeated at home this season. The competition level will not be easy, especially with a visit from the Connecticut Whale on February 5 and 6.
If everything goes according to plan, the Boston Pride will begin the second half of the 2021-22 season at home on January 22 and 23, 2022, against the Metropolitan Riveters. The Riveters currently sit in fourth place, just behind the Pride. All-Star selects Madison Packer, and Rebecca Russo will certainly bring their A-game to keep Boston on their toes. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Twitch.tv for Canadian audiences. Puck drop is set for 7:03 pm on Saturday 1/22 and 1:03 pm on Sunday 1/23.