The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Tuesday they will partner with the Toronto Furies of the Canadian Women's Hockey League to support women's hockey. The Maple Leafs also announced that the Furies' game against Team Alberta on Nov. 17 will be played at Air Canada Centre and will be free for all fans.
"The Maple Leafs consider it a core value to be a leader in the local community and we have an obligation to help influence the game at all levels," Dave Poulin, Maple Leafs vice president of hockey operations, said in a statement. "We are delighted to begin this partnership and we are really looking forward to seeing the Furies in action at Air Canada Centre."
Canadian Women's League partners
The Maple Leafs will invest $30,000 annually for five years toward coaching costs and to help offset equipment, uniforms and travel expenses. The Furies will receive support through the Leafs' website, at Leafs home games and on Leafs TV. Toronto Furies players and coaches will be invited to participate in other Leafs community and sports partnership initiatives, including Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest, Tim Hortons Toronto Maple Leafs Coaches' Open House and Scotiabank Girls Only Learn to Skate Clinics.
"This partnership isn't only an essential development step for the Toronto Furies, but for the female game as a whole," Furies general manager Rebecca Davies said. "To have an influential franchise like the Maple Leafs step up and support our team is going to result in our players and coaches gaining access to resources that will allow them to compete at an elite level on the ice as well as gain exposure off of it."
Saturday's game will feature a pregame autograph session with Maple Leafs alumni Wendel Clark, Gary Leeman, Johnny Bower and former standout women's hockey Olympians Jennifer Botterill, Geraldine Heaney, Cheryl Pounder and Hockey Hall of Famer Angela James.
"We're thrilled and excited to be a part of the Leafs family. They have been integral in leading the way for us to develop similar partnerships with other NHL clubs including one also announced today with the Calgary Flames and Team Alberta," CWHL commissioner Brenda Andress said in a statement. "This important alliance with the Leafs truly captures the essence of our strategic plan with a team-to-team affiliation that will bring exposure, growth and awareness to both our league and women's hockey across North America."