ST. LOUIS - The Professional Women's Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) continued its momentum today announcing a partnership with the St. Louis Blues - its fourth 2021 partnership with a National Hockey League team.
The St. Louis Blues will host a 2021 Secret® Dream Gap Tour showcase, presented locally by Centene Corporation, on April 11 and 12. The games will feature Team adidas (Minnesota) and Team Women's Sports Foundation (New Hampshire). Team adidas came away with showcase wins in New York and Chicago earlier this year against Team Women's Sports Foundation.
The first Secret Dream Gap Tour game in St. Louis will take place on April 11 at Centene Community Ice Center at 5 p.m. CT, and the showcase will conclude on April 12 with a 6 p.m. CT puck drop at Enterprise Center, home of the St. Louis Blues. This will be the last U.S.-based competition before PWHPA athletes head to international camps for the Women's World Championships scheduled for May.
"We are honored to host the top women hockey players in the world for the second consecutive year and have the opportunity to continue building on the success of the women's participation in the 2020 NHL All-Star Game," said Chris Zimmerman, St. Louis Blues President and CEO. "Being chosen alongside markets like Toronto, New York and Chicago makes a strong statement about the state of hockey in St. Louis, along with our commitment to the advancement of the women's game."
There are currently three PWHPA players participating in the weekend events with ties to St. Louis, including Olympic gold medalists Alex Cavallini and Nicole Hensley, as well as Jincy Dunne, a PWHPA and international hockey standout. Cavallini currently lives in the St. Louis area, Hensley played college hockey at Lindenwood University and Dunne grew up playing youth hockey in St. Louis.
"Since moving to St. Louis recently, I have been blown away by the eagerness and drive to grow the sport of hockey - for men and women," Cavallini said. "The St. Louis Blues hosting the PWHPA Secret Dream Gap Tour speaks volumes to how much they believe in our game and our mission of creating a viable, sustainable women's professional hockey league. There's nothing better than having visible, powerful women role models, on and off the ice, showing the next generation they, too, can dream big."
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The weekend showcase will also include community events in partnership with Bauer Hockey and feature PWHPA players and leaders. Officially kicking off on Saturday, April 10, these activities include an on-ice girls' hockey clinic, followed by a Youth Hockey Q&A featuring PWHPA athletes.
The April 10 program will continue with a Women in Leadership roundtable-which will take place before the Blues' game against the Minnesota Wild-and will showcase some of the most powerful and impactful business leaders and athletes in sports. Designed to enable a dialogue on equity in sports and the path forward, the two-part roundtable will also demonstrate to girls and young professional women the varied career paths available to women in sports and leadership.
"The Blues continue to be a leader investing resources to advance the women's game and grow youth hockey participation," said Mary-Kay Messier, a senior advisor to the PWHPA and VP of Global Marketing at Bauer Hockey. "It's exciting to return to St. Louis, the site where women's hockey skyrocketed forward with the 3-on-3 game and the Skills Competition. The Dream Gap Tour in St. Louis will further demonstrate just how exciting and marketable women's hockey is and how a sustainable pro league provides opportunities for the next generation to dream."
The Blues partnership with the PWHPA comes a year after St. Louis hosted the NHL's All-Star Weekend in January 2020, which included a widely-successful U.S. vs. Canada women's 3-on-3 all-star game, PWHPA player appearances during the NHL's Skills Competition and a legacy investment by the Blues, NHL and Bauer Hockey to grow girls' hockey. This investment included the creation of the St. Louis Blues Girls' Hockey Development League, which provides low-cost opportunities for girls of all ages to try hockey and develop skills at a faster rate.
"Centene is committed to the health and wellness of the communities we serve," said Marcela Hawn, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for Centene. "We are proud to sponsor the PWHPA Secret Dream Gap Tour and support these incredible female athletes in inspiring future generations to pursue their dreams."
Comprised of approximately 125 of the world's best hockey players, the PWHPA was formed to advocate for equity, fairness and opportunity in women's professional hockey. Specifically, the group's goal is to create a sustainable pro league that pays a living wage to players, provides appropriate elite-level resources and invests in marketing that showcases the players and game. The St. Louis showcase builds off PWHPA partnerships with the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks.
A limited number of tickets for the April 12 game at Enterprise Center are on sale now!