Toronto Six

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Toronto Six
2020–21 NWHL season
Toronto Six Logo.png
CityToronto, Ontario, Canada
LeagueNational Women's Hockey League
Founded2020 (2020)
Home arenaCanlan Ice Sports – York
ColoursRed, gold, black
     
Owner(s)Johanna Neilson Boynton
Head coachMark Joslin
CaptainShiann Darkangelo
MediaTwitch
WebsiteOfficial Website

The Toronto Six is a professional women's ice hockey team based in Toronto playing out of Canlan Ice Sports – York. They are first Canadian team to compete in the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) and the first expansion team to join the league since the collapse of the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) in 2019. The team was founded in 2020 with their inaugural regular season held in Lake Placid, New York, followed by the Isobel Cup playoffs in Brighton, Massachusetts.

History[edit]

Following the 2018–19 season, the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) ceased operations and with it the league's Toronto team, the Toronto Furies, citing the fragmentation of corporate sponsors between the CWHL and National Women's Hockey League (NWHL), which caused their league to be financially infeasible.[1] The NWHL then announced it was pursuing adding two CWHL markets to the league, Montreal and Toronto, for the 2019–20 season if the NWHL found financial backers for the teams.[2] The league was not able to set up the new teams before the start of the season, partially due dealing to a player strike that resulted in the creation of the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association.[3]

On April 22, 2020, the new Toronto NWHL franchise was officially announced as the league's sixth team and first original expansion team (the Minnesota Whitecaps joined the league's original four teams after being an independent team).[4] The team's ownership was announced as of a group of Boston-based investors headed by Johanna Neilson Boynton, a former competitor with the Harvard Crimson women's ice hockey program. Margaret "Digit" Murphy, former head coach of the Brown Bears, Boston Blades, and Kunlun Red Star WIH, became team president, while sports executive Tyler Tumminia was announced as the team's chairman. The team simultaneously announced its first five signed players as Kristen Barbara, Elaine Chuli, Shiann Darkangelo, Emma Greco, and Taylor Woods.[5] All five were former players in the CWHL. The team held the first overall pick in the 2020 NWHL Draft, but traded the pick to the Boston Pride. The first player drafted by Toronto was Jaycee Gebhard, an alumna of the Robert Morris Colonials women's ice hockey program, with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NWHL Draft. The team announced Mandy Cronin, CWHL co-founder and former goaltender of the Buffalo Beauts, as general manager on May 11, 2020.[6]

The team name, colours, and logo were announced by the NWHL on May 19, 2020.[7] The name was chosen from over 300 entries submitted in an online poll and was chosen because the team is the sixth NWHL team founded for the sixth NWHL season, as well as there being six players on the ice. The Six is also a nickname for the city of Toronto, referring to the original cities of Toronto, North York, Scarborough, York and Etobicoke, and the borough of East York.[8] The team colours were revealed as red and gold, the former representing the country of Canada and the latter representing the Golden Horseshoe. The logo is a combination of the letter "T", "O" and the number 6, with a maple leaf in the middle.[9]

On October 1, 2020, the team announced that they had agreed to a partnership with Canlan Ice Sports for the team to play their inaugural season at Canlan Ice Sports – York.[10] On October 13, Tyler Tumminia stepped down as club chairperson to become interim NWHL commissioner.[11] On October 20, the club announced team president Digit Murphy would also be the inaugural head coach.[12]

In January 2021, the team announced a partnership with the ECHL's Brampton Beast with the expectation of holding joint camps, practices, fan events, and double headers together, with Beast general manager Cary Kaplan stating that "We feel that we have a lot in common, as many people have still not appreciated or experienced both the exceptional level of hockey in the ECHL, or the equally strong fan experience that the Beast provide."[13] The Beast's head coach Spiros Anastas then joined the Six during the 2020–21 season as an assistant coach while the Beast were inactive due to the pandemic.[14] However, the Beast ceased operations entirely in February 2021.[15]

Inaugural season[edit]

Due to the ongoing restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Six started their inaugural season in a bubble with the rest of the league in Lake Placid, New York, in January 2021. The leadership for the inaugural season included Shiann Darkangelo appointed as the first team captain in franchise history, while Emma Woods and Emma Greco served as alternate captains.[16] The Six played their first game on January 23 against the Metropolitan Riveters, losing by 3–0.[17] The following day, Lindsay Eastwood scored the first goal in franchise history via a power play in an eventual 6–5 shootout loss to the Minnesota Whitecaps with assists credited to Emma Woods and Shiann Darkangelo. Breanne Wilson-Bennett scored twice in the game, recording the first multi-goal game by a player for the team. Other Six players to score versus Minnesota included Mikyla Grant-Mentis and Taylor Woods.[18] The Six earned their first win on January 26, 2021, with a 2–1 victory over the Boston Pride. The Six came back from a 1–0 deficit with a pair of third period goals by Brooke Boquist and Mikyla Grant-Mentis, whose goal stood as the game-winner. Boquist was named the First Star of the game, while Elaine Chuli recorded 24 saves in the win.[19]

The Six went on to win their three remaining games to clinch the top seed for the Isobel Cup playoffs. On February 3, 2021, the season was suspended due to positive cases of COVID-19 within the bubble.[20] On March 8, 2021, the league announced that the Isobel Cup playoffs would be held March 26–27 at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts.[21] The Six lost their semifinal game to the fourth-seed and eventual champion Boston Pride 6–2.

Following their inaugural season, assistant coach Lisa Haley, who had also coached in Toronto as head coach for the Ryerson Rams women's ice hockey program, was appointed as the league's senior vice president of hockey operations.[22][23] Six forward Mikyla Grant-Mentis became the most decorated player in a single NWHL season, Grant-Mentis earned a record four accolades.[24] She won the NWHL's Most Valuable Player award, the first black player to win the league's MVP,[25] tied as the leading scorer in the league, and captured the league's Newcomer of the Year award.

Transition in second season[edit]

In the month of June 2021, the Six would make two major changes in its leadership structure. On June 7, Mark Joslin, who spent the last four seasons with the Ontario Junior Hockey League's Toronto Patriots[26], was hired to replace Digit Murphy as head coach, who would stay in her role as team President on a full-time basis. With the hire, Joslin became the first black head coach in NWHL history. In addition, the Six added Hockey Hall of Fame member Angela James to their coaching staff on June 24. [27]

Before the month expired, Krysti Clarke, whose sporting background has included a role as manager of operations with York United FC of Canadian Premier League soccer, replaced Mandy Cronin as General Manager.[28]

With five picks among the top ten in the 2021 NWHL Draft, three of the picks were in the first round. Picking third overall, the Six selected Maegan Beres from Boston College, followed by Tatum Skaggs fourth overall, and York Lions skater Taylor Davison with the fifth pick, marking the second straight season that the Six have drafted a player from a U Sports women's ice hockey program. In addition, Davison made U Sports history, becoming the highest drafted player from the league.[29] As a side note, Davison's selection was announced by Angela James.

Season-by-season records[edit]

Season GP W L OTL SOL Pts GF GA Playoffs
2020–21 6 4 1 0 1 9 21 14 Lost semifinal game to Boston Pride

Team[edit]

2020–21 roster[edit]

As of 5 January 2021[30][31]
# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace
93 Canada Julie Allen F R 34 2021 Brampton, Ontario
20 Canada Kristen Barbara D R 28 2020 Mount Hope, Ontario
19 Canada Brooke Boquist F L 25 2020 Thunder Bay, Ontario
29 Canada Elaine Chuli G L 25 2020 Waterford, Ontario
17 Canada Taytum Clairmont F R 25 2021 Waterloo, Ontario
24 Canada Sarah-Ève Coutu-Godbout F L 24 2020 Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec
21 Canada Amy Curlew F L 23 2020 Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador
27 United States Shiann Darkangelo (C) F L 27 2020 Royal Oak, Michigan
44 Canada Lindsay Eastwood D L 24 2020 Kanata, Ontario
12 United States Emily Fluke F R 28 2020 Bourne, Massachusetts
13 Canada Mikyla Grant-Mentis F L 23 2020 Brampton, Ontario
25 Canada Emma Greco (A) D L 26 2020 Burlington, Ontario
9 Canada Mackenzie MacNeil F R 25 2020 Richmond Hill, Ontario
22 Canada Natalie Marcuzzi F L 23 2020 Thornhill, Ontario
91 Canada Jenna McParland F R 29 2020 Schreiber, Ontario
23 Canada Megan Quinn D R 24 2021 Belleville, Ontario
34 Canada Samantha Ridgewell G L 27 2020 Outlook, Saskatchewan
6 Canada Sarah Steele D L 26 2020 Stratford, Prince Edward Island
11 Canada Breanne Wilson-Bennett F L 25 2020 Markham, Ontario
67 Canada Emma Woods (A) F R 22 2020 Burford, Ontario
2 Canada Taylor Woods F R 26 2020 Morden, Manitoba

Captains[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

General managers[edit]

Franchise milestones and statistics leaders[edit]

Milestone Player Notes
First penalty Emma Greco January 23, 2021
First goal Lindsay Eastwood
Assisted by Shiann Darkangelo and Emma Woods
January 24, 2021
First multi-goal game Breanne Wilson-Bennett January 26, 2021
First win Elaine Chuli January 26, 2021
First playoff goal Breanne Wilson-Bennett March 26, 2021

Awards and honors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Final Public Communication" (PDF). CWHL. July 2, 2019. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  2. ^ Wawrow, Joe (April 2, 2019). "U.S.-based women's hockey league OKs plan to expand to Canada after CWHL folds | The Star". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  3. ^ National Women's Hockey League (May 30, 2019). "We'll Always Do What's Best for the Game". Our Sports Central (Press release). Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  4. ^ Kaplan, Emily (April 22, 2020). "NWHL adding first Canadian team, in Toronto". ESPN. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  5. ^ Wawrow, John (April 22, 2020). "NWHL's expansion to Toronto gets mixed reviews from women players". CBC Sports. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  6. ^ "NWHL Provides Updates on the GMs for 2020-21". NWHL.zone (Press release). May 11, 2020. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  7. ^ "Introducing…The Toronto Six". NWHL.zone (Press release). May 19, 2020. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  8. ^ "Toronto Nicknames & Where They Came From: A Tourist's Guide". Narcity. May 15, 2015. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  9. ^ "Toronto NWHL officially announces its name". NWHL.zone (Press release). May 19, 2020. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  10. ^ Forno, Mario (October 1, 2020). "Canlan Ice Sports - York to be Home of the Toronto Six". Toronto Six. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  11. ^ Ingemi, Marisa (October 13, 2020). "NWHL changes governance structure, including new Commissioner in Tyler Tumminia". The Ice Garden. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  12. ^ Tokarski, Anne (October 20, 2020). "Digit Murphy named head coach of Toronto Six". The Ice Garden. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  13. ^ "Six and Beast Establish Unique Professional Hockey Alliance". BramptonBeast.com. January 12, 2021. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  14. ^ "Beast Head Coach Anastas Given Opportunity to Participate in Lake Placid Bubble". BramptonBeast.com. January 19, 2021. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  15. ^ "BRAMPTON BEAST A CASUALTY OF COVID-19". Brampton Beast. February 18, 2021.
  16. ^ "TORONTO SIX ANNOUNCE TEAM LEADERSHIP FOR 2021 SEASON". toronto.nwhl.zone. January 14, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  17. ^ "Away Toronto vs Home Riveters Jan 23, 2021 at 1:00pm EST: Herb Brooks Arena - 0 – 3 FINAL". nwhl.zone. January 23, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  18. ^ "Away Whitecaps vs Home Toronto Jan 24, 2021 at 1:00pm EST at: Herb Brooks Arena - 6 – 5 FINAL SO". NWHL. January 24, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  19. ^ "Away Toronto vs Home Pride Jan 26, 2021 at 8:30pm EST: Herb Brooks Arena 2 – 1 FINAL". nwhl.zone. January 26, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  20. ^ "Transcript: NWHL media availability on the suspension of the 2021 season". SB Nation. February 3, 2021.
  21. ^ "NWHL TO AWARD ISOBEL CUP IN MARCH 2021". NWHL. March 8, 2021.
  22. ^ Donna Spencer (March 30, 2021). "Canada's Lisa Haley named NWHL's senior vice-president of hockey operations". torontostar.com. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  23. ^ Krotz, Paul (March 30, 2021). "Lisa Haley Appointed NWHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations". NWHL.zone. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  24. ^ Kevin McGran (April 30, 2021). "From the rink to the food bank, Toronto Six star Mikyla Grant-Mentis is making a difference". thestar.com. Retrieved May 13, 2021.
  25. ^ "Toronto's Mikyla Grant-Mentis named MVP at 2021 NWHL Awards". sportsnet.ca. April 28, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  26. ^ "Six appoints Joslin as head coach". tsn.ca/. June 7, 2021. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  27. ^ "Six hire Hockey Hall of Famer James as assistant coach". tsn.ca/. June 24, 2021. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  28. ^ "Six name Clarke general managers". tsn.ca/. June 28, 2021. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  29. ^ "DAVISON SELECTED FIFTH OVERALL IN 2021 NWHL DRAFT". yorkulions.ca/. June 30, 2021. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  30. ^ "Stats - Toronto". Toronto.nwhl.zone. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  31. ^ "TORONTO SIX ADD 3 SKATERS TO 2021 ROSTER". toronto.nwhl.zone. January 5, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  32. ^ "MARK JOSLIN APPOINTED HEAD COACH OF THE TORONTO SIX". Toronto Six. June 7, 2021.
  33. ^ "Digit Murphy is no longer behind the bench but the Six are still very much her team". SB Nation. June 9, 2021.
  34. ^ "Toronto Six forward Mikyla Grant-Mentis named National Women's Hockey League MVP". thestar.com. April 28, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  35. ^ Paul Krotz (April 28, 2021). "NWHL ANNOUNCES 2021 AWARD RECIPIENTS". NWHL. Retrieved April 29, 2021.

External links[edit]