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Calgary welcoming women's hockey with open arms

Last Updated May 6, 2021 at 1:50 pm MDT

Brigette Lacquette (4), pictured above celebrating a victory at the Unifor Women's Hockey Showcase in Toronto in 2019, is part of the Calgary PWHPA team. (The Canadian Press/Cole Burston)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — It’s been a tough couple of years for women’s hockey in our country.

With the folding of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League in 2019 and back-to-back cancellations of the women’s world championship, there’s been little to celebrate.

Sportsnet’s Cassie Campbell had some pointed words during a recent Hockey Night in Canada broadcast:

“If you care about the women’s world championship, then postpone it. Say ‘we want it.’ Don’t just cancel it right away.

“I thought some really poor judgement by the premier of Nova Scotia, and I think he owes these women an apology.”

Imagine you’re a world-class athlete, and you haven’t played a meaningful game in over a year. That’s unheard of.

RELATED: ‘Great location’: Rebecca Johnston readies for PWHPA hub in Calgary

Enter Calgary.

According to a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, our city is throwing its hat in the ring to host the now-postponed 2021 women’s worlds later this summer.

It makes sense — Calgary’s the home of Hockey Canada.

And that isn’t the only good news on the women’s hockey front in Alberta’s biggest city.

Thursday, the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA) announced it will be hosting a three-team Dream Gap Tour tournament in Calgary at the end of May.

The PWHPA hasn’t held any events north of the border in over a year, making this a key development.

It also means those women who were stopped from playing in the recent worlds will finally be able to strap up their skates again and hit the ice for some important minutes with the 2022 Olympics quickly approaching.

“It’s been so challenging,” PWHPA operations consultant Jayna Hefford told the Canadian Press this week. “It seems like men’s hockey has gone on, and we continue to hit these hurdles. I hope this a great opportunity for the women to play but also for people to see the best of women’s hockey.”

It hasn’t always been sunshine and roses for women’s hockey in the city.

When the CWHL dissolved just a week after the Calgary Inferno won the Clarkson Cup, more people were interested in underscoring the league’s failure rather than celebrating the Inferno’s success and trying to figure out how to support the women’s game going forward.

This week’s PWHPA announcement is a step in the right direction.