CWHL’s Inaugural Pave the Way tournament a success

May 15, 2016, Markham, ON-- Pave the Way participants pose for a picture before the final game of the inaugural tournament, a fundraiser hosted by the CWHL. (Photo by Jessica Pincente/Along the Boards)
CWHL’s Inaugural Pave the Way tournament a success
Jessica Pincente

It may have been three degrees and snowing, but even the weather couldn’t stop CWHL supporters from coming out in full force to support Pave the Way.

The CWHL hosted the inaugural Pave the Way ball hockey tournament in Markham, Ontario, and Calgary, Alberta, last Sunday. Joined by plenty of CWHL all-stars, fans got the opportunity to play ball hockey alongside and against some of their favorite CWHL players.

Read: CWHL Pave the Way Announced.

Paving the Way

The Toronto/Brampton combined event began with coffee and Timbits, and was soon followed by the opening ceremony and all-star draft. As the team that raised the most money, the Clarkson Cupcakes selected one CWHL all-star to play alongside their team for the duration of the tournament.  With their first overall selection, the Cupcakes selected Laura Fortino of the Brampton Thunder.

After the remaining all-stars were distributed to each of the teams, the tournament began. Five round robin games concluded in a grand final matchup between the Clarkson Cupcakes and the Hogan Hurricanes, a game that pitted Natalie Spooner and Jocelyn Larocque against Laura Fortino.  The Hurricanes won by a score of 8-7 in an action-packed 20-minute game, and earned themselves free admission into the Play On! ball hockey tournament in June.

Though the weather was crazy – it was raining, snowing and hailing at times during the day- the event was a success.  “Yeah it’s been a lot of fun so far,” said Steve Dangle, a member of the Clarkson Cupcakes.  “They’re a league trying to do a really good thing, not just for women looking to play professionally or in a good league against good competition, but for the future.”


Members of the “Clarkson Cupcakes”, Steve Dangle, Adam Wylde and Jesse Blake, pose for a photo at the Pave the Way ball hockey tournament in Markham, Ontario.

“Raising money for the CWHL is something we’re passionate about,” said Natalie Spooner, who played for the champion Hogan’s Hurricanes.  “The CWHL is building every year and were doing anything we can help. This event is awesome and you know, it’s another fundraising event that can help.” 

Another Pave the Way event was held on the same day in Alberta, hosted by the Calgary Inferno.  While those of us in Toronto were bundled up in our toques and wrapped in blankets, the Calgary participants sported shorts and ball caps in the 20-degree heat.  The Calgary tournament was won by the Eh Team, front lined by Inferno defenceman Jacquie Pierri.

Fundraisers such as this one have been important to the development of the CWHL as well as the growth of the women’s game in Canada.  There is a lot of excitement surrounding the league right now, as the CWHL continues to grow and fan support continues to become more widespread.

Pave the Way

Members of the “Furies and Thunder Fans”, including the Toronto Furies’ Michelle Bonello, pose for a photo at the Pave the Way ball hockey tournament in Markham, Ontario.

Even the cold weather couldn’t contain the apparent and abundant passion for the growth of women’s hockey in Canada.

Pave the Way Montreal will be held at a later date, and Pave the Way is still accepting donations until May 29th.

Another fundraising initiative taking place this summer is the CWHL’s second-annual Rinks to Links golf tournament. Details for this event will be released at a later date.

Jessica Pincente

Beat writer for the Brampton Thunder of the CWHL. Just a fan of the game.

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