Teams in the new Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) will wear jerseys with their city’s name on the chest for the league’s inaugural season.
It’s one item checked off a long to-do list before the league’s six teams begin play in January, and it arrives just in time for the start of training camp on Wednesday.
Teams will have two sets of jerseys during the first season. They will wear dark jerseys on home ice and lighter colored jerseys when away.
Toronto’s home jerseys will be blue, Ottawa’s will be red and Montreal’s will be burgundy. Boston, New York and Minnesota are the US-based teams and will wear green, turquoise and purple uniforms, respectively, at home.
The t-shirts will also include advertising. Each of them will have a shoulder patch for Canadian Tire, which signed a multi-year deal with the PWHL in September.
The league’s uniforms for the first season do not include team logos, a concession the PWHL has had to make as it prepares for its January launch, PWHL advisory board member Stan Kasten told reporters Tuesday. If logos appear on the first season’s jerseys, they will likely be on a patch similar to the one made for Canadian Tire.
That’s because the league had to order the jerseys “immediately” before working out the branding details, Kasten said. According to him, most large companies were already “sunken” in the summer, when the PWHL was created.
“We found someone who could do this and we did it maybe in early August when we placed our order, once we knew what our cities were,” Kasten said.
Kasten said the league will have merchandise for fans to order online in December and items at venues in January.
’98 Percent Done’ First Season Schedule
The league announced its practice sites earlier this week, but has not announced venues for games. Kasten said paperwork for all of those locations has not yet been signed.
The schedule for the first season has not yet been released, but Kasten said it is “98 percent done.”
“I think basically all the home schedules are made,” he said. “And the holes that are left on our schedule are special events or neutral site events or things like that, and most of those holes are in the second half of the season.”
Kasten described the league as being seven weeks away from playing hockey, which would put the PWHL’s first game in the first week of January.
Games to be played midweek and weekdays.
Teams will typically play two games per week, including one game during the week and one on the weekend, according to PWHL senior vice president of hockey operations Jayna Hefford.
“There will be games played every day of the week, which is exciting, something our sport has never seen before,” Hefford said. “Traditionally we have played games on the weekends because it hasn’t been a full-time job for many players.”
The league has also not announced its broadcast plans, but Kasten said “many, if not all” PWHL games will be broadcast on linear television in addition to streaming.
Kasten said he asked Scheer to review the league’s schedule, broadcast plan and venues, among other things, before the league commits to them.
“The things that we’re really ready to announce, we’re going to take a little bit longer,” he said. “If Amy thinks some things need further review or a complete rethink, well, that’s what we’ll do.”
‘All hands on deck’ preparing for the camps
When training camps open in all six markets, all players will have access to the same equipment, something that hasn’t always been true in previous women’s hockey leagues.
When Hefford and his staff started preparing for camps, they didn’t have basics like skate laces, duct tape or even bandages. They have had to go out and buy skate sharpeners, sewing machines and rehabilitation equipment, among other things.
“Players will be able to select the equipment they want to wear,” Hefford said. “It’s extensive. I’ve learned more about some of this stuff than I ever knew from playing and being a part of it. But we’ve all worked incredibly hard to make sure that when the players come in, they have everything they need to be professional athletes.”
In some cases, preparation involved construction.
The PWHL has built new clubhouses in some locations, including inside Ottawa’s TD Place. Some of that work was overseen by coaches and general managers: Kasten described Boston general manager Danielle Marmer overseeing the installation of new lockers at that team’s facility.
Lists set for December 11
Players will begin training camp with medical exams and off-ice testing before hitting the ice later this week.
In future years, when the PWHL begins its season in November, training camps will last two to three weeks.
But this year’s camps will last six weeks, something Kasten said players requested so they could settle into their markets.
All six teams will go through educational sessions on topics such as concussions and doping, and the teams will face each other for the first time, with one of those matches open to the public.
Camp is also a chance to experiment a little, Hefford added.
“For us in a hockey [operations]”In the presentation of the game, on the marketing side, we have the opportunity to test some things and make sure that when we launch it in January, we are ready to go,” he said.
Teams must have final rosters, including 23 players under contract and two reserve players, established by Dec. 11.