Last week, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League Players’ Association (CWHLPA) announced a new and exciting partnership with Sports Marketing All Stars, a marketing company in Toronto, ON. I was lucky enough to chat with Liz Knox, goaltender for the Markham Thunder, about the new partnership and what it means to the players—on and off the ice.
It’s no secret in the women’s hockey world that many of the professional players must balance careers on top of being professional hockey players in their respective leagues. Unfortunately, the majority of the players must work outside of hockey to support themselves so that they can continue to play professional hockey for a very minimal salary.
Here’s a fantastic Twitter thread from Paul Harbridge that highlights the careers outside of hockey that many CWHL and NWHL players hold:
I don't think many people realize that #womenshockey players/staff often work full-time on top of training for and playing professional hockey.
— 🌕 Paul Harbridge 🏒📖 (@PaulHarbridge) September 24, 2018
The CWHLPA’s new partnership will allow the CWHL’s players to access marketing and branding support for themselves and their businesses off the ice. Not only will this help the women become more successful in their own careers, but it will help drive far more attention to the CWHL and its players, as Knox explains: “This partnership offers the opportunity for our players to brand themselves and their businesses. The team at Sports Marketing All Stars really believes in the product of the players and was adamant about getting involved to take our visibility to the next level.”
Sports Marketing All Stars will offer the players various marketing and branding services, including everything from a logo design, social media support, website development and print services, to apparel production and event planning. This is a huge step forward for CWHL players who are looking for assistance in both their on and off-ice endeavours:
“Until this point, any and all branding has been about the leagues and the teams we play for. If I run a goalie school it’s “Liz Knox of the Markham Thunder” or “CWHL Goalie, Liz Knox”. I have credibility because of my association with the league. But, what if players could grow a brand that isn’t SOLELY defined by this situation? What if it’s a given that I play CWHL hockey because people know the brand? Not only is there a potential to bring new fans to the CWHL, but also to increase the longevity of our careers outside of the league.”
Not only will this new partnership benefit the players of the CWHL, but the league’s fans will have more avenues to show their support for the players as well, “We are still in the early stages but fans can expect an avenue to support their favourite CWHL players directly and/or indirectly through the CWHLPA by purchasing apparel and merchandise, keeping up to date on players’ websites and social, and even opportunities to get involved!”
A partnership like this is the first of its kind for the new and improved CWHLPA. The collaboration began at a local charity hockey game when Knox initially approached Steve Conforti, president of Sports Marketing All Stars, regarding a quote to re-design the CWHLPA’s logo. Little did she know it would turn into a partnership that would help increase the much-needed exposure for women in hockey:
“What started as a simple inquiry as to how much it would cost to help the PA look more professional, quickly turned into a discussion of the lack of visibility of female athletes in modern day media. It’s an area of opportunity that we, as a society, are becoming increasingly more aware of and it was like — okay? So, who’s going to step up? Enter Sports Marketing All Stars.”
For more information on the CWHLPA and Sports Marketing All Stars click here.