CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Nearly 200 women’s hockey players likely won’t be suiting up professionally in 2019-2020, as the group continues to pursue the #ForTheGame movement, in search of one viable and pro league in North America.
The majority of those players are members of the Canadian and American national teams, coming together earlier this year to show unity after the Canadian Women’s Hockey League folded and the future of the pro game was left up in the air.
— Marie-Philip Poulin (@pou29) May 2, 2019
The issue hits hard locally, as the Calgary Inferno had captured the 2019 Clarkson Cup, just one week before the CWHL announced it was ceasing operations.
For two-time Olympic gold medallist Carla MacLeod, it’s now about focusing on the future of the game and what it means for the next generation of players.
“From where I sit, I think everyone can recognize the game is growing,” she recently told 660 NEWS. “You’re going to have setbacks that allow you to be better down the road. If I’m a young player in the game, I’m actually excited. I think there’s going to be great potential for a lot of young athletes, young women, as this game grows, to play at a professional level consistently.”
AUDIO: 660’s Sandra Prusina catches up with Carla MacLeod after recent development camp at WinSport in Calgary
She added, as a young coach herself, she’s excited at what’s coming next.
“It will take a lot of hard work from a lot of people,” MacLeod admitted. “But, you’ve got to believe it will happen and with any luck, it will.”
The 37-year-old is working as an assistant coach with Canada’s national women’s development team. Hockey Canada recently held a camp at Calgary’s WinSport to get a glimpse of the players coming through the pipeline, looking to earn a spot on the national team eventually.
“I want them to believe they can make it,” she said. “I think that’s half the battle right there. You don’t know your timing of when you’ll make it or how you’ll make it, but you have to believe one day you can and you will.”
— Sandra Prusina (@sprusina) August 10, 2019
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– with files from the Canadian Press