Year two of the PWHPA will look quite different. The PWHPA officially announced a new setup that will take effect for the 2020-21 season on Wednesday morning. Per the official release from the PWHPA, based on feedback from their membership base, the organization will implement a new regional structure.
The structure is aimed at improving the player experience and to continue to make strides towards building a professional environment for PWHPA players. There will be five regional training hubs spread across North America. Three of them will be in Canadian cities, while two are stationed in the United States.
Calgary, Toronto and Montreal will be the Canadian hubs, while Minnesota and New Hampshire will be the hubs in the United States. The ‘Dream Gap Tour’, the barnstorming event that occurred last season, made stops in Toronto and New Hampshire.
“We listened to our players from last season, and the feedback was very consistent in ways that we could improve the PWHPA experience,” Jayna Hefford, PWHPA Operations Consultant, said in the statement. “It was a priority for us to increase the level of commitment and to provide additional resources for our athletes to develop and perform at the highest level. There is still an opportunity for players to be a part of the PWHPA, even if they don’t reside in an ‘official’ training region. We simply condensed the supported centres to provide more resources for our athletes.”
Another major change is that players will now be required to try-out to make regional training hub groups. Per the release, each hub will be allowed to carry rosters of 25 active players. Those players will be allowed to attend showcase events in 2020-21. Those events are still yet to be scheduled.
Those scheduled showcases were the only events on the 2019-20 game schedule for the PWHPA. That will not be the case under this new structure. Each regional hub will play regional games in addition to their showcase tilts. Not only will more games be on the schedule this season, but more training opportunities will be available to PWHPA players.
Change Is a Good Thing:
Personally, I thought the PWHPA did a bold thing a season ago. The ‘Dream Gap Tour’ was successful, and it was a good first season for the organization. There were things to improve on, however.
One of the biggest complaints fans and media had was no set schedule. It appears that has been fixed for this coming season. Ditto not having set rosters. It was tough to follow the PWHPA a season ago when the rosters changed for each and every event. It would appear that won’t be the case this season.
Fans looking for a ‘team’ to root for will be able to follow specific regional hubs with consistency this season. That, in my opinion, makes this look more structured than it did a season ago.
Overall, there are a lot of good things in this release by the PWHPA. It appears the organization is hearing out the concerns and requests of their membership and taking them seriously. That’s a good thing.
It’ll be very interesting to see how the PWHPA’s second season unfolds. On paper, it looks like it’s going to be a step forward and a solid product.