Come this fall, if everything goes to plan as far as global health relative to a certain virus, the National Women’s Hockey League will welcome its first Canadian expansion team to the ice. The Toronto Six, named via fan vote, will suit up in red, black, and gold with at least a dozen Canadian-born players.
Anyone with Drake fatigue (don’t lie, we all have it on some level) might be inclined to roll their eyes, but for this team it works on several levels. One, it’s Toronto’s Drake-given nickname. Two, there are six hockey players per team on the ice when playing at even strength. And three, the Six are, coincidentally, the sixth team in this pro women’s league.
As a huge fan of women’s sports, I’m looking forward to the Six’s debut season, and hopeful that we can show there’s an appetite for women’s hockey in this country beyond the Olympic Games. Hopefully TV and/or Internet broadcasters will lead the way, to make sure the team’s games are accessible to as many Canadians as possible.
Yes, I’m aware that the NWHL has it’s share of critics, including world class women’s players who refuse to sign a contract for the league because “it’s not the league they envision.” Some pundits succinctly refer to pro women’s hockey as a mess. But perhaps there’s a way forward, via players, fans, and the league, to adjust the NWHL accordingly if it continues to grow and have success.
My point? When the Six lace up their skates, give a crap like you would any other professional sports team rostered with men. The visibility of the game will help improve it, across the board.