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A love letter to the PWHL: Notes from the first season

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Carleton chapter.

Dear PWHL, thank you.

On January 24th, I went to my first Professional Women’s Hockey League game. I watched Ottawa take on Boston through mostly blurry eyes as I couldn’t help but tear up.

I never thought I’d be one to cry at a hockey game, but I couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling of happiness that seemed to swallow me. But it wasn’t only happiness, I was also full of hope.

I grew up playing hockey, and it has undoubtedly contributed to who I am today.

We learn so many lessons through sport. Leadership, cooperation, teamwork, and self-confidence. We learn from our coaches, our teammates, our mistakes, and our successes. Most of us learn from our idols. When I was growing up, the big names were Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, Patrick Kane, Carey Price, and of course, Sidney Crosby. As we got older, it was Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, Jack Hughes, and now Connor Bedard.

You see, there’s something missing here. Where are the women? There was never a shortage of incredible female players that do so much for the game. But when I was growing up, there was a shortage of attention on them.
I only really heard about female hockey players when the Winter Olympics came around, and then again, people probably only brought it up to me because I was a girl playing hockey.

But for the next generation of girls who find themselves as captivated by the game as I did, it’s going to be different.

So what does the PWHL and its inaugural season mean to me?


Women’s hockey is growing. When I was at that game on January 24th, I looked around the arena and I saw so many young girls in their minor hockey jerseys. But it wasn’t just the young people, and it wasn’t just girls, it was people of all ages and genders. Women’s hockey is becoming exciting, and people of all ages want to watch it now more than ever, whether it’s in person or through media coverage. 


When I was little, we never really heard about making a career out of hockey. The boys on my team had aspirations of making it to the NHL, where they would make so much money and playing hockey would be the only thing on their mind. Now, young girls everywhere can have those same aspirations. Women can now make a career out of playing professional hockey, and the PWHL provides the stage for that.


The PWHL has star players with various racial and sexual identities. If we’ve learned one thing in recent time, it’s that representation matters, especially in the media landscape. Young girls will be able to look at the TV screen and see a hockey player who looks like them.


Did you know that the Toronto and Montreal teams have sold out two NHL sized arenas? A Feb. 16 game at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto sold out just moments after the tickets went on sale. Then in March, the same thing happened. A rematch between Toronto and Montreal at the Bell Center (which, by the way, is the biggest hockey arena in North America), sold out again. Women’s hockey can sell out the same arenas as men’s hockey.


Of course, there’s still a long way to go in making the realm of professional women’s hockey perfect. But when I remember it’s only the first season, the successes and accomplishments are nothing but a beacon of hope. I know that for the next generation, it won’t just be Connor McDavid they look up to. There will also be names like Brianne Jenner, Akane Shiga, Taylor Heise, Sarah Nurse, and Marie-Philip Poulin.

So I wish I could go back in time and tell my 12 year old self who was struggling to find her place on her co-ed hockey team that one day it would be different. I wish I could tell her that there is a time where people gather to cheer on female hockey players, and that the time is sooner than she thinks.

So, to the PWHL and all the trailblazers that got us here, thank you. I can’t wait to see what season two brings. 

Sarah is a second-year journalism student minoring in history. She loves to read and write in any way she can, from poetry to historical research. She is especially passionate about women's sports and is excited to see how they evolve over the next few years! In her free time, Sarah can typically be found bingewatching her favourite sitcoms (on repeat), baking, listening to music, or trying a new Ottawa coffee shop.