Toronto Six – 2022-2023 Season Preview

Toronto Six captain Shiann Darkangelo skating behind the net

The seven-month wait is over, and the 2022-2023 season for the Premier Hockey Federation is set to kick off this weekend, with all teams in action. The Toronto Six will start their third season in the league with a back-to-back home opener against the Minnesota Whitecaps. The Six are coming off a campaign in which they finished second in the regular season (16-3-1), one point behind Connecticut after dropping the final game before the playoffs to the Whale. Minnesota ended season 7 in second-to-last place (6-13-1), four points ahead of the Buffalo Beauts. Both teams will be without their leading goal scorers from last season, with Mikyla Grant-Mentis signing in Buffalo and Allie Thunstrom heading to an already-talented Boston Pride squad.

Earlier in the week, Toronto’s new head coach Geraldine Heaney and captain Shiann Darkangelo were available for a question-and-answer period with the media to discuss the upcoming season, the changes to the team, and the overall trajectory of women’s hockey from Heaney’s days on the ice until now.

With the re-signings and new faces for the upcoming season, Heaney and Darkangelo were asked what identity the team was striving for. Darkangelo echoed a statement made earlier in the period by Heaney, which was having fun but working hard. “I definitely think that’s something that we’ve embodied. I mean, we do have a lot of fun, we laugh a lot. As I said, we have a young group but with a lot of energy.” Heaney agreed that she was always a player who liked to have fun, adding, “if you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re only going to be good at it and be successful.” 

When asked about the facilities, Heaney compared her experiences playing for the Toronto Aeros in the 1990s, having their own dressing room but having to walk to the main rink to play and now returning to the same arena – Canlan Sports York – with the Six. The coach commented on how she couldn’t have imagined a professional women’s hockey league like this in her lifetime and commended the PHF for their work running a sustainable league. Darkangelo also mentioned the day-to-day benefits, like the player experience as well as the training and medical staff available to them.

Heaney also touched on the events that canceled the team’s exhibition game against the Force the prior weekend, stating it was the player’s decision not to proceed with the match and to return home to support the player involved and that management supported the choice.

With 24 games ahead of Toronto on the schedule, the team – as described by Heaney as high-energy with a blue-collar mentality – will be hitting the ice as a group for the first time on Saturday, November 5th, at 2:00 p.m. This game and all other PHF matchups this weekend will be streamed on ESPN+ in the United States and in Canada, and hockey fans will not want to miss out on the action. 

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Courtney Adams

Covering the PHF/The Toronto Six for Inside the Rink

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