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TORONTO, Dec. 7, 2022 Women’s Para Hockey of Canada’s mission is to contribute to the health and well-being of girls and women+ with disabilities by developing, promoting and providing opportunities to participate in the sport of para hockey from grassroots development to an elite level throughout Canada. The organization oversees the Women’s National Team Program which currently receives no funding.
Today Women’s Para Hockey of Canada has issued an open letter to Corporate Canada and launched “Sticks In”, a campaign to raise $1 Million from the corporate community to fully fund the Women’s National Para Hockey Program for the first time in history.
The open letter is included in full below and interested parties can visit www.sticksin.ca
December 7, 2022
Dear Corporate Canada,
Today we are launching “Sticks In”, a national campaign to raise $1 Million from corporate sponsors to invest in systems change within hockey so that for the first time in history, we fully fund the Women’s National Para Hockey Team.
Creating a safe and positive environment where women and girls with disabilities can play the sport of hockey is at the core of everything we do with Women’s Para Hockey of Canada (WPHC). Our Canadian Women’s National Para Hockey Team which is not funded by Hockey Canada looks to advance the sport of para hockey (formerly known as sledge hockey) so that women can have the same opportunities as men with disabilities.
Over the past several months the conversation around hockey has been changing for the better. We are so encouraged by the corporate sponsor community in particular, who have spoken out and demanded change. Sponsors have said they want to invest in more diversity, more equity, and more inclusivity in hockey. And we’re here to say that we hear you and we are ready to work with you to deliver these experiences. Women’s Para Hockey of Canada is a symbol of what hockey can be.
Women with disabilities, especially those who have intersecting identities across other marginalized groups, need to be highlighted in our communities. Through our work with grassroots mentorship programs, we have seen the impact that our National Team athletes have on a community due to their intersectionality that the public can relate to.
Our ask of $1 Million may seem like a lot of money when in reality it is less than 0.5% of the amount that brands invest in amateur sport across Canada. We aim to achieve something that’s never been done before – for the first time in history the core programming of our Women’s National Team would be fully funded. This is irrefutably and unequivocally aligned with everything that sponsors, the hockey community, and the general public are demanding. It will support our performance on the world stage and through excellence at the highest levels of our sport we’ll continue to advance the work that we are already doing in the grassroots. In the long-term it will help us achieve our goal of having women participate in Para Ice Hockey on the world’s largest stage.
We believe that hockey should represent the diversity of Canada. Our national team is proud to say that:
We are Disabled. We are Women. We are Bigender. We are Non-Binary. We are Queer. We are Black, White, Indigenous, and Asian. We are Immigrants. We are Single Mothers. We are Caregivers. We are Teachers and Students. We are Mental Health Advocates. We are Front Line Workers. We are Changemakers. We are Hockey Players. We are the Best in our Sport.
Sponsors have said they want different and better outcomes. You cannot achieve that without different and better investments. We are self-funded today and we have succeeded in realizing systems change in hockey. Imagine what is possible if we get the support that sponsors have expressed wanting to provide.
So get your stick and throw it into the middle with ours as we build a future of hockey where everyone belongs. We are stronger together and as of today…we are open for business.
Janice Coulter (she/her)
Tara Chisholm (she/her)
Tracey Arnold (she/her)
About Women’s Para Hockey of Canada
Founded in 2007, Women’s Para Hockey of Canada enables girls and women+ with disabilities across Canada to achieve long term participation and sporting excellence in para hockey with a sustainable program nationally. Learn more at wphcanada.com
For further information: Media: Janice Coulter (she/her), (780) 974-9416, [email protected]
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