Dixon’s Distilled Spirits is partnering with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association.
The organization was formed to create awareness about the need for a truly professional and sustainable women’s hockey league. It has 125 active members spread out across five training regions in North America: Minnesota and New Hampshire in the US; Montreal, Toronto and Calgary in Canada.
Over the years there have, of course, been different versions of leagues, yet none have provided anywhere near the amount of support that players need. Much is required: insurance, infrastructure, salaries, coaching, marketing and promotion. It’s an expensive endeavour, to be sure, but an investment that is decades overdue.
“The association is trying to create positive change in our sport for this generation and the next generation of young girls who want to play the game,” says Jayna Hefford, PWHPA Operations Consultant. “We want young girls to believe they have a future in the sport.”
The PWHPA is the platform for top talent in North America, including Hockey Canada and USA hockey players. They provide practice ice, training facilities, coaches, equipment, apparel and showcases for players to compete.
The association completed its first season in 2019, after more than 200 players came together to form a unified mission. The goal: to create a professional league with livable wages, enhanced marketing and media infrastructure, and access to high-level training facilities to push the game further than ever before.
Dixon’s involvement came about through a close relationship with one of the PWHPA’s members, Loren Gabel: “We’ve known Loren since she was 10 or 11,” says Vicky Dixon, co-owner of Dixon’s. “Naturally, we were keen to support her as well as help to give female athletes a stronger voice to inspire others.”
The company is sponsoring two Instagram Live events. The first, a Q+A (with gift card prizes!) was held on May 29 with three members from Toronto’s Team Sonnet: Natalie Spooner, Sarah Nurse and Loren Gabel (if you missed it you can watch the recording). The second will feature a fun cocktail creation session with two of the PWHPA’s top players—plus more chances to win some gift card prizing. Virgin Radio’s Rae Kelly is moderating these sessions, lending her talents, voice and perspective in support of female athletes.
Those who are interested in supporting the PWHPA can visit their website, where they can purchase merchandise, make a donation and even sign up to receive a monthly newsletter. The newsletter is a great way to stay up to date on upcoming events, including games.
Dixon’s has a history of giving back, which they’ve done since they distilled their first bottle in 2015. They have often given locally, supporting individuals and organizations, and now they’re giving back on a national level. This partnership runs between April and August of 2021, with the aim of increasing the visibility of women’s hockey in North America and supporting the growth of a professional, sustainable league.
“These women are the best in the world at what they do, and we are working to find a way to support them,” says Hefford. Supporting women’s sports is critical for their growth and to create a society that embraces strong female role models.”
North America is long overdue for a single, viable professional women’s ice hockey league that can showcase the young talent we have in such abundance. Players deserve to have a united voice, to have access to training and programming, and to enjoy a game that is more inclusive.
Women today, and girls of the next generation, deserve nothing less.
For more information on the Instagram Live events and contest entry, visit Dixon's Distilled Spirits or call 519-362-3358.