The New York Rangers are breaking new ground in growing women's hockey.
The club will host a Dream Gap Tour game on Feb. 28, becoming the first NHL team to present a contest involving the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association. It will be the first pro women's game ever held at Madison Square Garden.
"This is a major milestone for women's hockey and young girls who aspire to play professional hockey but don't have the option to make it a career today," PWHPA operations consultant Jayna Hefford said.
The PWHPA, which contains 125 of the world's best women's hockey players, was formed in 2019 after the Canadian Women's Hockey League dissolved. The Dream Gap Tour is a traveling showcase, with its most recent edition having been put on hold amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
February's game at MSG will be the tour's first stop, and the league will add additional events in both Canada and the United States. Logistics for the matchups will follow local guidelines.
The PWHPA's goal is to form one league that pays players a living wage while providing them suitable facilities, resources, and marketing. Hubs currently exist in Calgary, Minnesota, Montreal, New Hampshire, and Toronto.
Another entity, the National Women's Hockey League, has operated since 2015, and its six teams were playing an abbreviated bubble season in Lake Placid, New York, before shutting down the season Wednesday due to the pandemic.
The PWHPA was originally buoyed by Canadian and U.S. national team members who believed the NWHL wasn't sustainable as the only pro option for women's hockey players.
Feb. 3 is National Girls and Women in Sports Day in the United States.