Women get short end of stick

ALISON KORN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:04 AM ET

As NHL teams and fans anticipate the playoffs and entry draft, their unpaid female hockey counterparts are aiming to raise $1 million for Canada's premier women's hockey league -- just so they can play without paying.

A cool million would fund the six Canadian Women's Hockey League teams next season. It's a small amount compared to the millions of dollars available to other major sporting leagues, as their announcement rather tactfully noted this week.

Nancy Drolet, a 1998 Olympian and pioneer in the sport, will act as chairman of the board and faces the immediate challenge of helping the league reach that $1-million fundraising goal.

"We have done our homework and we have come a long way the past few years," said Drolet, who lives in Montreal. "The CWHL will continue to build on the power of dreams with our future partners and amazing fans as we write a new page in history. I am honoured and touched by this vote of confidence from Canada's hockey and sports community."

The fact that Canada lost the women's world championship last weekend to the Americans -- for the second year in a row -- makes solidifying this league a particularly urgent task.

The league was established in 2007 by the players themselves and consists of six teams: Montreal Stars, Brampton Thunder Canadettes, Mississauga Chiefs, Burlington Barracudas, Vaughan Flames, and Ottawa Senators.

Team members include many previous and future Olympians.

By day, these women are moms, have successful careers, and graduate from top tier universities. By night, they're Canada's finest female hockey players -- unpaid, underestimated, and ultimately unknown.

Drolet was a national team member for 12 years and won six world championships. She scored the overtime game-winning goal at two worlds to give Canada the gold. Now 35, she's involved in a lot of projects -- as a motivational speaker, owner of two massage clinics, running a life coaching business, and former owner of a hockey school.

In 1989, she scored the first major sponsorship of a women's team.

The league's fundraising initiative, called "CWHL Power of Dreams," will also focus on promoting women's hockey and other activities leading up to and following the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

For more information or to get involved, visit the site www.cwhl.ca.

Tewksbury's tips on TV

Olympic swimming gold medallist Mark Tewksbury is taking lessons learned from sport and applying to them to life.

His weekly TV show, Top Of Your Game, airs on CBC Newsworld every Wednesday and is based on his book, The Great Traits of Champions, which he co-wrote with coach Debbie Muir.

Each segment focuses on a specific positive idea and how viewers can champion these traits in their own daily lives. For "homework" see www.cbc.ca/topofyourgame.

Workshops for parents

During Ontario Coaches Week (April 18-26), several communities will host free two-hour workshops to help sport parents and coaches work together to maximize kids' experiences in sport and recreation.

Presented by top Ontario coaches, topics include going beyond the starting lineup, how parents can stand out from the crowd, and choosing the right sport program for your child. Workshops are offered in Toronto, Burlington, London, Huntsville and Guelph. To register, visit www.coachesontario.ca.

Para-Alpine profile

The Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team, which made history in March by winning the IPC Nations Cup overall points title for the first time, is being featured on CTV's W-FIVE.

The segment, called Blinding Speed, premieres on CTV at 7 p.m. tomorrow and repeats Sunday at noon.

The team finished the IPC World Cup season with 5,685 points to overtake Austria (5,063) and the U.S. (4,651). It's the first time that any team other than Austria or the U.S. has won the overall title.


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