The Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) has its first-ever draft pick, with Taylor Heise going to Minnesota with the first overall pick. 

Draft order was determined via lottery, with the Minnesota franchise receiving the first pick. The full first-round selections were as follows:

  1. Minnesota – Taylor Heise, F, United States
  2. Toronto – Jocelyne Larocque, D, Canada
  3. Boston – Alina Müller, F, Switzerland
  4. New York – Ella Shelton, D, Canada
  5. Ottawa – Savannah Harmon, D, United States
  6. Montreal – Erin Ambrose, D, Canada

A total of 268 players are eligible and have declared for the draft, with many believing that NCAA standout Heise would be the first overall pick. A Minnesota native who played for the Golden Gophers and was co-captain her senior year, it seems almost scripted for her to begin her professional career at home under the leadership of Minnesota legend and PWHL general manager Natalie Darwitz, who was her coach at Minnesota. 

“I’ve played in front of my Minnesota fans here for gosh, 15 years,” Heise told MPR News of the possibility of being drafted first overall to Minnesota. “Minnesota has the best fans in the nation. It’s the state of hockey for a reason. So it would mean a lot.”

And while Darwitz wouldn’t name names, she told the Associated Press that she already had a good idea of who she was going to select with the No. 1 overall pick. 

Heise is the winner of the 2022 Patty Kazmaier Award, which goes to the top player in women’s college hockey. She also stars for Team USA, helping them to gold at women’s world championships in April.

“Minnesota is my home. Everyone that I love is there and it’s the state of hockey,” Heise said on the broadcast. “I’m just really honored I am going to be able to play and be able to show the little girls that anything is possible if you keep working hard.”

While players aren’t automatically signed to teams as a result of the draft, Heise’s signing is all but a given. Teams will retain the rights of drafted players for two years. Players can then re-enter the draft, but they are only allowed to do so once. 

“Trailblazing is bold. It’s brave, and it can be very scary,” PWHL co-founder Billie Jean King said Monday before announcing Heise as the first PWHL pick. “It’s not about a single moment. It’s about a movement. Finally giving women professional hockey players the structure, the support and the platform they deserve. That hockey deserves.”

As the draft continues, Just Women’s Sports takes a look at who’s already signed with teams during the free agency period.


Heise rounds out what was a stout free agency period for Minnesota and Darwitz, which featured two of the team’s three signings hailing from the state. Kendall Coyne Schofield was the lone outsider, and even then she’s from Illinois. The USA Hockey star was joined by Kelly Pannek and Lee Stecklein, who both also captained the University of Minnesota.


Having the final pick of the first round in the draft meant that Montreal and general manager Danielle Savageau needed to make a splash elsewhere, and they did. They signed Marie-Philip Poulin, arguably the top player in the women’s game and captain of Team Canada. She’ll be joined by Laura Stacey, whose versatility is overshadowed by Team Canada’s star power. In net, the team will have Ann-Renée Desbiens, automatically making them a contender in this league. 


Boston and general manager Danielle Marmer have the most balanced signings of any team, starting hot with Team USA captain and reigning world champion Hilary Knight at forward. Megan Keller, a three-time Patty Kazmaier Award finalist at Boston College, backs her up on defense, while Northeastern star, 2021 Patty Kazmaier Award winner and world champion Aerin Frankel will star in net for the Boston team. There’s a lot riding on this team, as Boston were three-time champions and two-time reigning champions in the PHF. 

New York

Pascal Daoust brought the present and future to New York with his signings, bringing in young star Abby Roque while adding decorated veteran Alex Carpenter to help guide Roque. Carpenter has a wealth of professional experience, and had nine points at the world championships this year en route to winning a gold medal with Team USA. Team Canada defender Mica Zandee-Hart is the heart of the defense, and the lone player to not sign with a team in her home country as a native of British Columbia.


Gina Kingsbury started her tenure as general manager by signing a pair of star forwards in Sarah Nurse and Blayre Turnbull. She also added Renata Fast, one of just four defenders signed in the initial free agency period.


Three Team Canada veterans joined general manager Michael Hirshfeld’s squad in free agency: forwards Emily Clark and Brianne Jenner and goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer.

The newly formed Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) will feature six teams in its inaugural season, three in the U.S. and three in Canada.

The PWHL officially announced its franchise locations in a news conference Tuesday, but the league provided an early reveal via its newly unveiled account on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. The PWHL account follows exactly six other accounts — those of its teams in the New York City area, Boston, Minnesota, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. Team names and logos will be revealed later.

In choosing its sites, the PWHL hewed closely to the imprint of the defunct Premier Hockey Federation. Investors in the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association bought out the Premier Hockey Federation in June, clearing the way for the PWHL as the singular professional women’s league in North America.

The traveling four-team PWHPA played in showcase events around the U.S. and Canada. The seven-team PHF had franchises in Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut, New York/New Jersey, Minnesota, Montreal and Toronto, five of which are represented in the PWHL.

“We wanted a market that was excited about the women’s game, that had a lot of traditional hockey fans that we thought would support women’s hockey,” said Jayna Hefford, the senior vice president of hockey operations for the PWHL.

The PWHL, which counts with Los Angeles Dodgers owner Mark Walter and tennis legend Billie Jean King are among its primary investors, sought markets that could provide arenas large enough to host games as well as dedicated training facilities for the home teams. Washington, D.C., and London, Ontario, were two other potential sites discussed by the league, the Associated Press reported.

Players will soon find out which of the teams they will call home for the 24-game inaugural season, which is set to begin in January 2024. Each team can sign up to three players during a free-agency window starting on Sept. 1, and then a 15-round draft will follow on Sept. 18 in Toronto. Players from both the PWHPA and PHF, plus NCAA graduates and international players, will have the opportunity to declare for the draft.

Teams will be able to sign additional players after the draft, and each roster will feature 23 players. The CBA lays out a salary range of $35,000 to $80,000 per season, and six players on each team will be signed to three-year contracts of no less than $80,000 per season.

The PHWL Players Association ratified its collective bargaining agreement via a unanimous vote in early July, making it the first union in North American women’s pro sports — and possibly all of pro sports — to have a ratified CBA prior to the start of competition. Ahead of Tuesday’s announcement, Brian Burke signed a multi-year deal as the executive director of the Professional Women’s Hockey League Players Association union, a source told Just Women’s Sports. The executive committee for the union, which includes Brianne Jenner, Hilary Knight, Liz Knox, Sarah Nurse and Kendall Coyne Schofield, supervised the hiring.

Burke, 68, most recently served as the president of hockey operations of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins from 2021 to 2023. He also served as a board member for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which folded in 2019. He called Tuesday the “most exciting day in the history of women’s hockey.”

The PWHL has received advice from the NHL as it plots out its inaugural season, board member Stan Kasten said. The leagues also plan to collaborate on neutral-site games for PWHL teams, special events such as the outdoor Winter Classic series and more.

“They have been fantastically supportive of us from the first minute. … They understand this is our league and we’re going to have to make our own decisions,” Kasten said.

Members of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) ratified their collective bargaining agreement via a unanimous vote Sunday night after a 72-hour voting window.

The new CBA also comes on the heels of the confirmation of a new women’s professional hockey league, which is slated to launch in January 2024 with financial and leadership support from the Mark Walter Group and Billie Jean King Enterprises.

The union, dubbed the Professional Women’s Hockey League Players Association (PWHLPA), was voluntarily recognized by its new employer, though the league itself is yet to be named. It is the first union in North American women’s pro sports — and possibly all of pro sports — to have a ratified CBA prior to the start of competition. The WNBA ratified its first CBA in 1999 ahead of the league’s third season, while the NWSL’s first CBA was finalized in 2022 ahead of the league’s 10th season.

The PWHPA’s bargaining committee — consisting of Kendall Coyne Schofield, Brianne Jenner, Hilary Knight, Liz Knox and Sarah Nurse — negotiated with the league’s new owners for five months. They kept PWHPA players up-to-date on the negotiation process until the final CBA was proposed on Thursday night.

The new women’s hockey CBA outlines salary and facility requirements and guarantees benefits and standards for health insurance, housing stipends, a 401(k) program, relocation expenses, per diems, hotel accommodations, pregnancy benefits, childcare coverage, parental leave, nursing accommodations and more. 

Hailey Salvian of The Athletic reported that salaries will range from $35,000 to $80,000 or more during the initial year of competition, with minimum salaries set to increase by 3% each year. Salvian also reported that the CBA includes stipulations that no more than nine players can be paid the league minimum and that, during year one, at least six players per team will be signed to three-year $80,000-plus guaranteed contracts.

According to a source who reviewed the document, there isn’t a traditional salary cap. Instead, the CBA is structured on salary averages to ensure that the divide between lowest and highest paid players doesn’t grow too large.

 “It sets us up with this foundation and expectations. Players know what they’re going to get,” PWHPA operations consultant Jayna Hefford told Just Women’s Sports.

“There are player protections and workplace safety (requirements). There are standards that are going to have to be met as it relates to facilities and where players train. All of that is critical to the success of a long term, viable league.”

Stan Kasten, a member of the league’s new board who was part of the negotiating process, praised the players involved. 

“I can’t say enough about the determination of this group of PWHPA players. They fought for what they believe, they were determined, passionate and really, really smart,” Kasten told Just Women’s Sports.

“They held out until they got the rights, the protections, the facilities – all of those things that elite athletes deserve. And they didn’t settle for second best, they waited. And they wound up with something that is kind of a dream come true for all of us involved in this.” 

When the PWHPA filed its articles of incorporation in 2019 following the collapse of the CWHL, as players looked for more than what the PHF (then NWHL) could guarantee, the group cited sustainability as one of its goals.

“We are prepared to stop playing for a year—which is crushing to even think about—because we know how important a sustainable league will be to the future of women’s sports,” Shannon Szabados, a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Canada, said at the time. 

It ultimately took four years, not one, but Kasten said the new ownership group is in it for the long haul. 

“We have not just a long-term vision, but a permanent vision, and that requires funding,” he said. “It requires infrastructure. And, most of all, it requires strength of ownership and leadership. And we’re starting with Mark Walter and Billie Jean King and, I’m sorry, it doesn’t get better than that.”

There is a long history of women’s sports leagues — including women’s hockey leagues — launching without proper funding, infrastructure, or safety measures in place. That was even one of the factors Sally Yates cited in the U.S. Soccer-commissioned report into abuse in the NWSL. 

“In the haste to get the League off the ground, the Federation conducted limited financial due diligence on the new league’s prospective owners and did not put in place the infrastructure or planning necessary to support the League over the long haul. Instead, the focus was on putting eight teams on the field,” the Yates report read.

The new hockey league is looking to avoid such pitfalls.

“Fans maybe don’t understand why (a CBA) is so important, but when we look at those other leagues, when we look at what’s happened in women’s hockey, a lot of those difficult things that have happened were because there weren’t player protections and workplace safety and termination clauses,” Hefford said. 

While current PWHPA members negotiated and voted on the CBA, former PHF members will be eligible to join the PWHLPA union.

Team USA won the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship title on Sunday night in a thrilling come-from-behind victory. The U.S. defeated Canada, 6-3, at the CAA Centre in Brampton, Ontario, to win its 10th women’s hockey world title — and first since 2019.

The final score was not indicative of just how tight the game was. Canada led three times on Sunday night, with the U.S. coming back each time.

Tied 3-3 with just over three minutes remaining in regulation, U.S. captain Hilary Knight scored the go-ahead goal on a 5-on-3 power play — her 100th career world championship point. Knight, who also scored Team USA’s second goal of the night, completed her hat trick just 27 seconds later.

Aerin Frankel anchored the U.S. in net, turning away 24 shots.

Canada entered the final with momentum in the cross-border rivalry, having won the last two world championship titles, plus Olympic gold in 2022. Then add in that Canada was on a five-game win streak versus the U.S., which included a nine-round shootout victory during the preliminary round.

For the 22nd time in 22 tournaments, the U.S. women’s hockey team will play in the final of the IIHF Women’s World Championship.

The U.S. defeated Czechia, 9-1, at CAA Centre in Brampton, Ontario, on Saturday to book a spot in this year’s championship game (Sunday 7pm ET, NHL Network). Team USA will play the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal (Canada vs. Switzerland).

The U.S. kicked off scoring into the first period with an Amanda Kessel power play goal (video embedded below).

While Kessel’s was the only goal scored in the first period, the U.S. opened the floodgates in the second with two goals from Hilary Knight, one from Abbey Murphy, one from Abby Roque, and another from Kessel.

Czechia also recorded its lone goal of the game the second period with this snipe from 16-year-old Adéla Šapovalivová, who is making her second senior world championship appearance in Brampton (video embedded below).


With the win, the U.S. women’s hockey team continues its unprecedented streak of World Championship finals appearances. Beginning with the first IIHF Women’s World Championship in 1990, the U.S. has qualified for the final each and every time, winning the world title on nine occasions.

Archrival Canada has made the world championship final every year save one: 2019, when the Canadians were upset by Finland, 4-2, in the semifinal round.

Women’s Hockey World Championship – Year-by-Year Finals History

  • 1990: Canada def. United States, 5–2
  • 1992: Canada def. United States, 8–0
  • 1994: Canada def. United States, 6–3
  • 1997: Canada def. United States, 4–3 (OT)
  • 1999: Canada def. United States, 3–1
  • 2000: Canada def. United States, 3–2 (OT)
  • 2001: Canada def. United States, 3–2
  • 2003: Tournament cancelled due to SARS outbreak
  • 2004: Canada def. United States, 2–0
  • 2005: United States def. Canada, 1–0 (SO)
  • 2007: Canada def. United States, 5–1
  • 2008: United States def. Canada, 4–3
  • 2009: United States def. Canada, 4–1
  • 2011: United States def. Canada, 3–2 (OT)
  • 2012: Canada def. United States, 5–4 (OT)
  • 2013: United States def. Canada, 3–2
  • 2015: United States def. Canada, 7–5
  • 2016: United States def. Canada, 1–0 (OT)
  • 2017: United States def. Canada, 3–2 (OT)
  • 2019: United States def. Finland, 2–1 (SO)
  • 2020: Tournament cancelled due to COVID-19
  • 2021: Canada def. United States, 3–2 (OT)
  • 2022: Canada def. United States 2–1

Just Women’s Sports ‘Pro-to-Pro’ series, presented by Cisco, kicks off with golf sensation Danielle Kang sharing her tricks of the trade with hockey star (and aspiring recreational golfer) Hilary Knight.

With three Olympic medals, including one gold, and seven World Championships, Knight is one of the most decorated hockey players ever to take the ice. Her golf swing, however, could use some pointers.

Kang, with five LPGA tour wins, including a 2017 KMPG Women’s PGA Championship, is the perfect teacher for the job.

The virtual lesson, made possible by Webex by Cisco, start with Kang working on Knight’s stance.

“Legs feed the wolves,” says Kang, borrowing a phrase from hockey. With the fundamentals down, Kang and Knight move through everything from technique and sports psychology to the importance of presence in sport.

Watch the first episode of Pro-to-Pro featuring Danielle Kang and Hilary Knight:

Hilary Knight and I are experiencing bad cell service due to winter weather that just won’t quit. We both laugh and roll with it because if this year has taught us anything, it’s to just keep going.

The same is true for Knight and the team she formed to create the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association, a player-led organization whose goal is to create a single, viable professional women’s hockey league in North America. No matter what obstacles get thrown their way (and there have been plenty), they’ve remained bound and determined to keep going until they change the status quo for their sport.

Knight and I speak days before the start of the PWHPA’s second Dream Gap Tour, which gets underway on Sunday, February 28 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. When Team New Hampshire faces off against Team Minnesota, it will be the first time that women’s professional hockey will be played in the “World’s Most Famous Arena.”


Hilary Knight had big plans for the PWHPA’s second season. Another round of the Dream Gap Tour had been planned for 2020, with other opportunities cropping up on the horizon. Like other sports, all of that came to a screeching halt as COVID-19 spread across the globe. Despite the setback and the ongoing uncertainty, Knight and her teammates have kept themselves focused on maintaining their fitness as best they can in order to stay prepared.

Balancing her time between her home in Idaho and her training pod in Minnesota, Knight has made the most of her surroundings, running up mountains in her backyard and using her garage as a gym.

“I’ve definitely had to do some home workouts without any equipment,” she says. “Filling my backpacks with firewood to create weight, using my porch as a step up… You kind of just get creative.”

She may be one of the best hockey players in the world, but Knight is just like the rest of us when it comes to Zoom blunders, having accidentally crushed her computer with logs during a virtual team workout. Such is life for an elite athlete in a strange time.

All in all, Knight’s approach to staying in shape for the PWHPA’s upcoming games and the 2022 Beijing Olympics has been to keep calm and get the work done, knowing that she’s far from the only one facing challenges.

“It’s not ideal,” she admits, “and I think you just come to the realization that as hard as it is as a person, everyone else who’s training for the same opportunity is going through the exact same thing.”


A self-described Type A person, Knight has also put her long term goals for the PWHPA at the forefront of her mind in order to contend with a lack of control over what this year will look like.

“Understanding that we have this vision, we have to continue to adjust and adapt on the fly. It’s not always going to go according to plan, especially with the global health crisis. So I think that’s been the biggest thing, trying to be flexible and being okay with being flexible.”

As a leader, Knight is honest about the challenges she faces trying to keep players engaged and connected during this time when they can’t physically be together. At this nascent phase of the PWHPA’s development, enacting a strong culture and fomenting relationships is key.

But as with the other obstacles she’s juggling at the moment, Knight is not inclined to let anything get in the way of what she and more than 100 other players have set out to achieve, previously telling Just Women’s Sports founder and CEO Haley Rosen, “This is for the future of the game. We’re trying to build something that’s bigger and better than what is currently out there. Not only for ourselves but also for the younger girls who dream of playing professional hockey.”


For anyone of a certain generation, it’s nearly impossible to hear an inspiring hockey story without whispering a subtle “quack, quack, quack, quack.” It’s even harder to watch Hilary Knight on the ice without feeling like you’re witnessing Connie Moreau, all grown up.

But instead of being one of the only girls on the team, the real life hockey phenom is working to build the future she envisioned as a kid, a world where girls can aspire to play in an established, sustainable professional league.

Though she started out on skis at age two, Knight quickly fell in love with ice hockey when her family moved from California to Illinois, and a lack of mountains forced her parents to switch Hilary and her siblings to the local sport.

Knight excelled on skates, and at the age of five — years before the USA women’s team took home gold in the sport’s Olympic debut in Nagano — she announced that she would be an Olympic ice hockey player one day. The only issue was that no professional league existed yet for women.

“I think seeing the guys on TV and watching the NHL, that was how I viewed hockey,” Knight told Kelley O’Hara on the Just Women’s Sports podcast. “And it felt like the Olympics were sort of that pinnacle,”

More than two decades later, with a resume that boasts multiple Olympic medals (including gold from Pyeongchang in 2018), an Isobel Cup Championship, two NCAA titles, All-American credentials, eight World Championships, two World silver medals, and handfuls of additional accolades, the University of Wisconsin graduate isn’t driven by what she’s accomplished in the past.

One of the most recognizable faces in her sport, Knight is motivated by the fire stoked within her from experiencing the harsh reality of trying to make it as a professional hockey player post-college as leagues folded around her and scarce resources made it difficult to make ends meet.

“The reality was far different than what I thought it would be,” Knight told O’Hara. Recounting the start of her professional career, Knight remembers teaching skating lessons to make extra money and living on peanut butter sandwiches and free Dunkin’ Donuts coffee rolls that she would pick up at the end of the day before they were tossed.

Enough eventually became enough, and in 2019, Knight took matters into her own hands.


It’s rare to see camaraderie between US and Canadian hockey players. The two national teams hate each other, Knight admitted to O’Hara, as she recounted on-ice fist-fights between the two programs.

But in an attempt to reshape the professional possibilities for the sport, Knight worked to bring the best athletes from both America and Canada together to start the PWHPA, an alternative organization to the National Women’s Hockey League, which was not meeting every player’s standards for sustainable success.

One of the first recurring opportunities for PWHPA players to showcase their prowess has been the Dream Gap Tour, which aims to galvanize the hockey community around the future of women.

When we started out, we wanted to provide players resources and opportunities to play,” Knight says. “We don’t get enough with our own national team, and we saw a big need to bridge the gap.”

In addition, Knight notes the need for visibility, saying the tour has ensured that the players remain present and accessible to fans. Visibility is key not only in creating role models for the next generation, but in order to garner the support these athletes need to build the infrastructure necessary to support a competitive playing and developmental environment.

As Knight explains, “it’s all those shared services that we as viewers of professional leagues don’t think about. When you break it down, when you’re watching a player perform, even if it’s a team sport—take one player, there are so many people that go into the success of that player performing on the ice, and then equally there are so many people that go into the success of that team.”

In addition to performance resources, Knight’s goal is for players to have the same opportunity as their male counterparts to make a livable wage and play hockey for a living.

The question now is how.


The fact of the matter is that there is no standard playbook for starting a league from scratch. The PWHPA has enjoyed support from multiple NHL partners, including the New York Rangers, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Toronto Maple Leaves, who are all lending resources (and arenas) to market the association, the Dream Gap Tour, and future games.

These multi-year partnerships with various clubs now beggars the question of whether the road for women’s hockey starts with more assistance from the NHL.

For Knight, the answer is yes.

“I know there’s a school of thought of ‘oh no, go out and do it on your own.’ But there’s so much to learn and almost not enough time. So if we can have a plugin with these different clubs and continue to have this cross-pollination of shared resources, it’s only going to benefit the game long-term.”

That said, she knows that professional sports leagues are money making ventures, acknowledging that the NHL is its own entity, and they’ve got to make “a good business decision.”

“Personally, I think it would be phenomenal having a woman’s pro league [in partnership with] the NHL,” Knight says. “So I hope it’s in the future, but only time will tell.”

A big part of that future will also hinge on how Knight and other players can grow the game not just for women, but for players of color as well.

Knight is well aware that hockey is a majority-white sport, and she understands the importance of changing that precedent.

“Our entire mission is ‘if she can see it, she can be it,’ and coming from the gender side of things, we saw how important it was for a young girl to be able to see this awesome female skating,” she says. “It’s the same thing with BIPOC players. If we continue to deliver a white player on the ice… then hockey is not going to be for everyone.”

While she knows that solving racial inequities in her sport will not happen overnight, as a leader striving for change, Knight acknowledged that “we play a big role in being able to facilitate bringing hockey to everyone and making it more accessible and making it more diverse.”

“It’s definitely something that’s on the forefront of people’s minds and a conversation that we’ve been having for many, many months.”


When the Dream Gap Tour concludes later this year, it’s all eyes on Beijing for Team USA.

Knight is excited at the prospect of bringing home another gold in 2022, but understandably has questions about what the next year of training looks like for her and other Olympic hopefuls due to the new reality created by COVID-19. Though she teeters between feeling underprepared and acknowledging that everyone is being dealt the same cards right now, she’s trying not to over analyze the situation.

“I think it’s a balance of the two extremes and understanding that when the time comes, whoever’s on the team is going to be ready for that opportunity.”

Typically, the team gathers for a residency program with players congregating in a designated location to train as a unit for six months. Having staged an October training camp with zero positive cases, Knight speculates that they’ll still be able to conduct residency training, but with different protocols than before, noting that their success this past fall “shows that the players are really serious about the opportunities when we do come together.”

So if all goes according to plan, Team USA will be able to get together when the time comes. But with the recent retirements of twins Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, as well as captain Meghan Duggan, this will be a different team than the one that made history in 2018, upending Canada for the first time in 20 years and winning Olympic gold.

Thinking about the inevitable changing of the guard, Knight shares that while it’s bittersweet to think about heading to the Olympics without players that so many on Team USA grew up watching or playing alongside, the team’s drive transcends generations.

“It’s part of the culture that we’ve developed, and whether it’s your first Olympic games or your fourth, you just have to be ready to go and do whatever’s necessary to put the team in a winning position.”


I could talk to Knight ad nauseam about the intricacies of building a league, her steadfast dedication to setting high expectations, and not settling for less than what she feels female professional hockey players deserve. As our conversation winds down, I ask her what the golden ticket is.

Like a true business maven, Knight doesn’t skip a beat, telling me that the biggest need is for continued corporate investment, which she says will drive visibility.

“When you have these big brands that are hopping on board, people are paying more attention, and they’re taking what you’re doing seriously.”

The upcoming second run of the Dream Gap Tour, sponsored by Secret, is a proof point that Knight’s vision is beginning to take root.

“We need more players in our space and that will come. I think it just takes one, and then all of a sudden more companies want to be involved with what we have going on. And I think the sport in general is in a really good spot to continue to land these partnerships and sponsorships.”

And if there’s one thing Knight wants players, fans, and those in positions of power to know? It’s that “our group is so powerful because we’ve got the best players in North America, and we’re trying to navigate the future for the next generation.”

The Dream Gap Tour sponsored by Secret kicks off live from Madison Square Garden on Sunday, February 28 at 7 p.m. ET airing on NHL Network and Sportsnet 360. The tour continues from Chicago on Saturday, March 6 at 2 p.m. CT on NBC Sports and Sunday, March 7 at 10:30 a.m. CT on CBC Sports.