Over the last six months, no organization or individual has been immune to the COVID-19 crisis. And as we look to the future of our ‘new normal’, it’s become apparent women will face a disproportionate negative impact in their daily lives and in sport. As noted by Canadian Women & Sport: “Huge revenue losses, deep cuts and a tight focus on ‘core business’ threaten initiatives dedicated to leveling the field for women. Marketers, media and investors may gravitate toward the ‘safe bet’ of men’s sport. And heightened competition for scarce resources—such as places to play and train—may leave more women and girls sitting on the bench.” While many men’s professional sports have continued to push forward defying all odds, women’s professional hockey has taken a back seat and is in jeopardy of losing all momentum.
Secret® Deodorant believes equal sweat deserves an equal opportunity and is committing $1 million to the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA), the largest corporate commitmentever made for professional women’s hockey in North America. This funding is integral to ensuring the sport’s top players are given an opportunity to play and are given a spotlight to advocate for a new and equitable professional women’s hockey league.
“As a brand committed to empowering and emboldening women, we can’t stand by and see gender equality unravel. Secret® proudly stands with the PWHPA and its players to fight for a new professional league to ensure all players – regardless of gender – are given the same chance and support to play,” says Secret® Senior Brand Director Lisa Reid. “Hockey is Canada’s sport, and this issue is both symbolic and pervasive. Countless women are being told they don’t deserve the same opportunities as men; tackling professional hockey equity is our first, but not last, fight. The PWHPA and its players represent the top athletes in the sport who deserve to have the same opportunities as the men.”
While these players shine on the Olympic stage, the years in between are very different. Until 2019, women’s professional hockey lacked adequate access to training facilities, equipment, ice time, salaries, support teams, marketing support and broadcast visibility. And last year, it got worse, with the shutdown of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. This instigated the formation of the PWHPA and its first Dream Gap Tour. Secret® was one of the first brands to step up then, as they are now, to bring this issue to the national stage.
This year, 125 of the sport’s top players, including 38 Olympians like Marie-Philip Poulin, Natalie Spooner, Sarah Nurse, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Hilary Knight and Brianna Decker will take the ice in the Secret® Dream Gap Tour with teams in Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Minnesota and New Hampshire. Through a series of six Showcase events across North America, for the first time ever, players will compete for cash prizes and the Secret® Cup. Events like these are critical to bring attention to the incredible talent of these athletes and the need for better infrastructure to support girls’ and women’s hockey. The full player roster is now available on the PWHPA website.
“Thanks to brands like Secret®, players are given access to the necessary training facilities and resources and opportunities to compete, that professional sport demands. And fans are given the chance to cheer on their favourite athletes and rally behind their home teams,” says PWHPA Operations Consultant Jayna Hefford. “COVID-19 affected our positive momentum and threatened our upcoming season. We’re so thankful for Secret’s ongoing support of the PWHPA. The PWHPA is made up of the best hockey players in the world, the fans deserve a chance to watch these women play and our players deserve to be treated equitably. This is a pivotal moment to create real change in women’s professional sports.”
More About the Secret® Dream Gap Tour:
Who will take the ice during the Secret® Dream Gap Tour? Find the full roster at PWHPA.com. And join the PWHPA mailing list to be the first to know about upcoming events, league updates and merchandise.
Learn more about Secret’s commitment and the upcoming season at EqualSweat.ca.