Nova Scotia

Nova Scotians on PWHL’s top team heading to playoffs

Although the Professional Women’s Hockey League is only in its first season, Toronto Captain Blayre Turnbull says she has already made memories that will last a lifetime.

Her team played the very first PWHL game against New York, and later played in front of sold-out crowds of more than 19,000 fans at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto and more than 21,000 people at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

“For us to be a part of those three games, it was pretty special,” said Turnbull, who’s from Stellarton, N.S. “Our team’s been very lucky that we’ve been able to play in some pretty historic games.”

And on Wednesday, the Toronto team — which includes Turnbull and fellow Nova Scotians Allie Munroe on defence and Carly (CJ) Jackson in goal — will compete in the league’s first playoff game. Head coach Troy Ryan is also from Spryfield, N.S.

Toronto’s Allie Munroe (12) and Boston’s Sophie Shirley (9) chase down a loose puck during the first period of a PWHL game in Toronto on Jan. 17. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)

Toronto ended the season in first place after winning 16 of their last 20 games.

For Munroe, who hails from Yarmouth, N.S., the team’s success feels special.

“We started really slow, so to kind of get on a roll and end up in first is pretty awesome,” she said. “I’ve been having a blast.”

Munroe and her teammates started the season in January with four losses in their first five games. But since then, Toronto has been one of the teams to beat.

Jackson, of Amherst, N.S., has also sat in the stands and seen the energy fans bring and the inclusive environment that they help create.

“It’s been pretty electric,” they said. “Women’s hockey has been heart and soul from the root and now that we’ve got the stage we deserve, it’s just contagious and it’s really fun to see that being expressed with our fans.”

A person is smiling and looking to the left while being propped up on their arms on the floor. They are wearing a baseball cap backwards.
Carly Jackson, who goes by CJ, is a goaltender with PWHL Toronto from Amherst, N.S. (Heather Pollock/PWHL Toronto)

By finishing first, Toronto secured home-ice advantage and won the right to pick between the third- or fourth-place team to be their playoff opponent — a unique rule that isn’t a part of the NHL.

And while the team is turning its attention to the playoffs, Jackson said that doesn’t mean the game plan changes.

“We just stick to what we’ve been doing all year and just trying to get better,” they said.

The puck will drop between Toronto and Minnesota on May 8 at 7 p.m. ET in Toronto’s Coca-Cola Coliseum. 

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