TORONTO (June 4, 2018) – On the afternoon of Monday, June 4, the Markham Thunder became the first CWHL champions to be honoured by a Canadian Prime Minister as Clarkson Cup champions, meeting with PM Justin Trudeau at Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
“Not only was today an honour for us to be the first Clarkson Cup champions invited to meet with the Prime Minister, but it was another huge step in growing the game of women’s hockey,” stated Markham Thunder general manager Chelsea Purcell. “Our players do so much within our communities to work with youth and grow the game, but today provides another level of reach. Young girls from across the country have an opportunity to see professional women’s hockey players being recognized for their incredible achievements beyond the national program and it is an amazing thing to see.”
“Prime Minister Trudeau has made professional equality a priority and it’s great to know that mission extends to women’s professional sports,” said Clarkson Cup MVP Erica Howe. “We have come so far over the past few seasons with the addition of full-time general managers, player compensation, and having our All-Star Games and Clarkson Cup Finals broadcasted across Canada. This trip today is another important milestone for our league.”
The Thunder made the trip to the nation’s capital courtesy Via Rail as transportation for the team was provided gratis.
“Special thanks need to go to all those that supported us in making today happen,” commented Purcell. “Of course, Via Rail for the transportation; Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti and all of city council for welcoming us in as one of their own this past season; Markham-Thornhill MP Mary Ng for bringing us together with Ottawa; our fans and volunteers, including a special recognition for Dan and Paul Harbridge who did an incredible job in pushing for this trip to happen; and our league and team sponsors who really make everything possible with the CWHL and the Thunder.”
The Markham Thunder won the Clarkson Cup in their inaugural season, making the move from the birthplace of the Thunder franchise in Brampton to their new home in Markham during the summer of 2017. Following a rough start to their 2017-2018 campaign, Markham rattled off seven consecutive wins to end the regular season in the fourth and final playoff position. From there, the Thunder upset the defending Clarkson Cup champion Les Canadiennes in an exciting semi-final playoff series, before defeating the expansion Kunlun Red Star by a final of 2-1 in overtime of the Clarkson Cup Finals.
About the CWHL
The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) is the premier, professionally-run women’s hockey league in the world. With seven current clubs throughout North America and China, it enables elite female hockey players to pursue their dreams of competing at the highest level possible, while enhancing the lives of others through exceptional athleticism, entertainment, and motivation. The league is a centrally funded not-for-profit organization, meaning all participating teams receive equal access to funding to ensure equal opportunity and competition. To learn more visit thecwhl.com.
General Manager – Markham Thunder