Sports News

Ice hockey: Top women players bring fight against inequality to Japan

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Jayna Hefford (R) scores on Switzerland's goalie Sophie Anthamatten during the second period of their preliminary round game at the IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship in Ottawa April 3, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

(Reuters) - Top women ice hockey players are headed to Japan for a three-game series with the national team to highlight their fight against inequality, the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) announced on Tuesday.

The PWHPA, whose mission is to promote and advance a single women’s professional league with fair wages, said the games will be played on March 4th, 5th and 7th at Tokyo’s Shin-Yokohama Skate Center.

“This is a great opportunity for hockey fans in Japan to see some of the top players in the world,” Jayna Hefford, the PWHPA’s head of operations, said in a news release.

“We are very proud of this partnership and look forward to working with (the) Japanese federation to continue to build the game for women worldwide.”

The series is the latest stop of the Dream Gap Tour, which was launched last year in a bid to draw attention to the lack of opportunity and support for professional female hockey players in North America and push for a sustainable women’s league.

The PWHPA also said the three-game series will be a chance for the Japanese team to prepare for the women’s ice hockey world championship that begins on March 31 in Canada.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris