(photo credit: AdrienneClarkson.com)
Wednesday March 7 marked a historic day for women’s hockey as the Clarkson Cup – presented annually to the Canadian Women’s Hockey League champions – was welcomed into its new permanent home at the Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto.
The trophy is named for former Governor General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson, who was in attendance for the official ceremony. Hockey fans may be more familiar with another trophy named after another former Governor General – namely the Stanley Cup – but the significance of the award isn’t lost on Hockey Hall of Fame Vice President and curator Phil Pritchard.
“It is a big day for the CWHL but it’s as equally as big for the Hockey Hall of Fame,” said Pritchard, famous for the white gloves that he wears as the Stanley Cup’s caretaker. “We pride ourselves on housing hockey’s greatest trophies. Our mandate is to preserve the game and obviously the Clarkson Cup is part of that. It’s huge for us and for the advancement of the game.”
The trophy itself bears the names of the players of all four championship teams beginning in 2009. Like the Stanley Cup, more names will be engraved on an ongoing basis as each annual winner is crowned. Brampton Thunder forward Gillian Apps has yet to have her moniker inscribed on the trophy, but is looking to avenge last year’s defeat in the final at the hands of the Montreal Stars.
“It’s amazing to be able to know that we have such an amazing cup that has a spot now in the Hockey Hall of Fame forever,” said Apps who said she feels no added pressure of carrying on the legacy of her family name. Her grandfather, Syl Apps, won three Stanley Cups and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961. “I’m looking forward to the end of our season and hopefully having a chance to hoist the Clarkson Cup,” she said.
This year’s edition of the tournament will be held from March 20-23 in Markham, Ontario. Montreal will be aiming to secure its third straight title, but will have to contend with challengers Boston, Toronto and Brampton.
“The fact that the Clarkson Cup now has a home alongside the greatest trophies in hockey is a true sign that as the female game grows, so too does respect for the passion, skill and talent our players bring to the great Canadian sport.” said CWHL commissioner Brenda Andress.
Adrienne Clarkson (third from left) and Brenda Andress (fourth from left) celebrate Cup’s new home.
Phil Pritchard, HHOF VP and curator:
The Rt. Honourable Adrienne Clarkson views the trophy that bears her name in its new home:
Rob Del Mundo is the author of Off The Post, and is a regular columnist at TMLfans.ca
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