– February 24, 2021 – The Mark Messier Foundation, a non-profit established by National Hockey League (NHL) legend Mark Messier to assist programs that make a positive difference by creating opportunity through sport, committed today to match donations that support the advancement of a viable pro women’s hockey league up to $100,000. Funds raised through Messier’s match program will support the Professional Women’s Hockey Player Association’s (PWHPA) 2021 Secret® Dream Gap Tour, as well as grassroots programs specifically designed for girls.
“I believe the creation of a sustainable pro women’s hockey league is a critical building block for access and opportunity,” Messier said. “As much as it is an equity initiative for women today who deserve a platform to showcase their talents, it is also an investment that builds off all the good our game offers. If young girls can dream to play pro hockey the same way boys have for generations, our game will grow in a more diverse way and more young girls will build self-confidence they will carry forever.”
The Mark Messier Foundation launched this initiative ahead of the first-ever pro women’s game to be played at Madison Square Garden, hosted by the New York Rangers. On February 28 at 7 p.m. ET, the PWHPA will kick-off the 2021 Secret® Dream Gap Tour with a game broadcast live in the U.S. on the NHL Network. Sportsnet with air the NHL Network broadcast on Sportsnet 360 and SN NOW in Canada.
Comprised of approximately 125 of the world’s best hockey players, the PWHPA was formed to advance equity and opportunity in women’s professional hockey. Specifically, the group’s goal is to create a sustainable league that pays a living wage to players, provides elite-level resources and invests in marketing that showcases the players and game. A professional women’s league will provide role models for young girls and career opportunities in the game they love.
In addition to the game at Madison Square Garden, the PWHPA partnered with the Chicago Blackhawks to play a Secret Dream Gap Tour game at the United Center and the Toronto Maple Leafs to host a game when Canadian regulations allow it. Since those announcements, several other NHL teams have expressed interest in supporting and hosting the PWHPA. The Chicago game at the Madhouse on Madison will be broadcast nationally by NBC Sports.
About the Mark Messier Foundation
The Mark Messier Foundation was created by National Hockey League legend Mark Messier to deliver on his passion to support, inspire and empower those in need through sports, healthy living and education. The Foundation’s mission is to assist programs that deliver both quantifiable and qualitative benefits that make a positive difference. Learn more at MarkMessierFoundation.org.
Mark Messier Foundation & Bauer Hockey