The Toronto Six hockey club hosted its Isobel Cup championship open house in Toronto on in early April, celebrating the day with fans.
The celebration took place at the Canlan Ice Sports complex in North York, where fans packed the arena to listen to players and staff speak about the championship win against the Minnesota Whitecaps in late March.
This is the first championship for the organization and a historic one because the team is only three years old, starting in 2020.
The event started with player introductions, which led to a speech from captains, general manager and women’s hockey legend Angela James, and president Sami Jo Small talking about how much the championship meant and how proud they were to bring Canada’s first Isobel Cup to Toronto for the first time.
Small said there was a “void in this country for women’s hockey” and that fans “wanted to have stars to cheer for and to know that their team won the cup is a big deal.”
Afterwards, they held autograph and photo opportunities where fans could meet the players and take pictures with the Isobel Cup.
Fans sat in a line that took over half an hour to clear, getting autographs, chatting with players, and taking pictures with the Isobel Cup and a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.
This championship comes when women’s hockey is seeing an increase in significance here in Canada. Late last year, the Professional Hockey Federation received a salary cap increase to slightly less than $2.1 million from just under $1.1 million. This comes with the introduction of the Montreal Force at the beginning of this season.
Small said this points to the significance of women’s hockey.
“Not only does this put us on the front page of newspapers, but it makes a lot of people stand up and notice that this league, team, and players for the incredible stars that they are,” she said.
Toronto Six defenceman and Oshawa native Saroya Tinker said having the opportunity to bring the cup back to Canada, and to be able to showcase the league and team, is “huge.” She also added that young girls “can see us now as Toronto Six hockey players, and that they can make a living wage playing hockey.”
She said the presence of her team “proves what great hockey players we have here, and that we can be Toronto’s team.”
Tinker is also the president of the Black Girls Hockey Club, which she said proves “Black girls can play hockey, and they can be pretty damn good at it.” She also hopes this championship “inspires them, and I hope that they want their name on the Isobel Cup someday.”