Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Clarkson Cup?

The outgoing Governor-General has decided to follow the tradition of one of her predecessors, Lord Stanley:

Outgoing Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson is expected to announce Wednesday the creation of a trophy in her name for supremacy in Canadian women's hockey.

During what will be her farewell address at the Empire Club in Toronto, Clarkson is set to fulfill a goal she set last winter after a debate over whether the Stanley Cup should be awarded to women because of the NHL lockout.

Prominent female players across the country suggested the creation of a new trophy specifically for them.

Clarkson has since been working at establishing the trophy before her term as governor-general ends on September 27.

The trophy will be created this winter by students at the Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit.

However, it's still unclear which women's hockey leagues will compete for it.

At present, there are two women's professional hockey leagues in Canada -- the eight-team National Women's Hockey League, based in Eastern Canada, and the five-team Western Women's Hockey League, based in the West.

Both want to a chance to compete for the Cup. However, the two leagues are deadlocked over issues that have kept them from establishing a championship with representatives from both the NWHL and the WWHL.

It's not often that the G-G's office comes up with a good idea, but this one has the markings of a real winner. It puts women's hockey on a national footing, and it lets Ms. Clarkson leave a regal legacy. It also gives the former CBC journalist a popular association that she's never really had before (I don't believe Clarkson paid that much attention to hockey, either men's or women's, during her CBC career).

Now, how the NWHL and WWHL play for the "Clarkson Cup" (and there's no guarantee that the trophy will BE a cup) doesn't matter to Clarkson. I seriously doubt that Lord Stanley would have understood the NHL playoff format for his cup. But when those two leagues iron out their differences, there'll be a regal trophy for them to shoot for, on a par with the Stanley Cup.

Now the question becomes whether CBC or TSN get the broadcast rights ...