The Toronto Six will make history this Saturday, taking the ice for the first time ever to face the Metropolitan Riveters at 1 p.m. ET in National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) action.
There will be a lot of hockey to watch in the NWHL bubble, not to mention the excitement of following the first steps of the first Canadian franchise in the league.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the first official Toronto Six game.
When and how to watch
The 2020-2021 season will take place entirely in a bubble environment in Lake Placid, N.Y., from Jan. 23 to Feb. 5.
All games will be played at Herb Brooks Arena, where the famous game known as “Miracle on Ice” took place, when the United States mens’ team beat the Soviet Union 4-3 during the 1980 Winter Olympics.
The Toronto Six will play five games in hopes of reaching the playoffs in its inaugural season. The complete schedule leading up to the Isobel Cup final can be seen on the side.
The Toronto Six is the first Canadian franchise in the NWHL. The league announced it would expand to Toronto on April 22, 2020.
“The addition of a Toronto team for the National Women’s Hockey League is most welcome by our city and one that I know many Torontonians will embrace as they have with all of our other sports teams,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory in a statement last spring.
The team is the first expansion franchise for the league since the Minnesota Whitecaps joined in 2018.
On May 19, the Toronto Six unveiled its name, colours and logo.
The “six” not only is a shout to the city’s nickname, a short reference to the 416 area-code, but also alludes to the new franchise being the sixth in the league – an addition made in the league’s sixth season.
The Boston Pride, the Buffalo Beauts, the Metropolitan Riveters and Minnesota Whitecaps, who were champions in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively, are the other NWHL teams, along with the Connecticut Whale.
A hockey team being composed of six players is another detail that has been referenced by the team.
“We wanted a bold, clean and modern brand for the team, for the game and for the city,” said Tyler Tumminia, chairman of the Toronto Six, in a statement regarding the announcement.
On the logo, the crest reads a self-explanatory TO6, while the gold in the maple leaf relates to the Golden Horseshoe region in Ontario, according to the team.
The following months consisted of more reveals. On June 26, the three Toronto Six jerseys were shown to the public.
“As the first Canadian team in the NWHL, the Six wanted to connect closely with the country’s colours and flag,” read the team’s press release. “Red and gold trim from the Six brand’s core colours are used as accents throughout the uniform.”
One of the things still missing was an arena, but that ceased being the case on Oct. 1, when the team announced it would play its games at Canlan Ice Sports in Toronto’s north end.
They will have to wait to play games at home, however, as the upcoming season will happen in New York.
What about the team that will represent the Six on the ice?
President and head coach Digit Murphy and general manager Amanda Cronin had a lot of work to assemble a roster from scratch, but the 21-player squad is ready.
Canadians represent the majority of the Six’s roster with 19. Some of the standouts are the assistant captains – defender Emma Greco and forward Emma Woods, both 25 years old.
Greco, born in Burlington, Ont., has long ties with Toronto, as she once played for the Toronto Aeros in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) at the beginning of the last decade (2010-13) and more recently in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) for the Toronto Furies during the 2018-2019 season.
Woods, a native of Burford, Ont., played at the NCAA level for Quinnipiac University before suiting up for a pair of China-based teams in the CWHL.
Her most recent team was Leksands IF, for whom she had 29 points in 35 games in the 2019-2020 regular season in the Swedish Women’s Hockey League.
The only two internationals, both from the United States, are also worthy of a mention.
Left-winger Shiann Darkangelo will serve as the Six’s first captain in what is not her first time playing in the city, as she suited up for the Toronto Furies in 2018-2019.
The honours of the 27-year-old Royal Oak, Mich., native include winning the 2010-2011 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships gold medal, the 2015-2016 world championship gold medal and the 2016-2017 NWHL Isobel Cup.
Emily Fluke, a 28-year-old forward from Bourne, Mass., got close to becoming an NWHL champion herself last season with the Boston Pride. They won 23 out of the 24 regular-season tilts, while qualifying for the Isobel Cup final before the games were cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.
Kanata, Ont., native Lindsay Eastwood, a 24-year-old defender, who was recently interviewed by the Toronto Observer, is another player to keep an eye on.
With all that in mind, now you have all the info you need to watch the first Toronto Six game ever, against the Metropolitan Riveters, airing live on NWHL’s Twitch channel, Saturday at 1 p.m. ET.