It’s one of the worst-kept secrets ever – barring some last-minute legal surprise, Ottawa’s entry in the new Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) will be known as the Alert, a nod to the history of women’s hockey in the city.
The team opened training camp in November at its home base at Lansdowne’s TD Place Arena and will launch its inaugural season by hosting Montreal on January 2.
In late October, the league trademark a name for each of the six franchises, and it was Alert for Ottawa. Then on November 25, as team players watched a Senators game at the Canadian Tire Centre, they were announced to the crowd and welcomed as “the Ottawa Alert.” But as of this writing in early December, the team was still officially referred to as PWHL Ottawa.
Ottawa general manager Mike Hirshfield said there are trademark and other legal matters to be settled before an official announcement, that likely won’t be much of surprise.
“It’s a much more complicated process than the average person would think it was, so it’s taking a little longer than expected,” he told the Ottawa Sun on November 10. “I think it’s going to be the new year before we see anything official.”
The Alert name pays tribute to the Ottawa Alerts, a women’s team that was first set up in 1950 and was in action on the ice from 1916 to 1930. In 1922, it joined the 18-team Ladies Ontario Hockey Association and won the Women’s Ontario Ladies Championship in several years
At a Senators game on November 25, the Ottawa team name was announced as the Ottawa Alerts, a name rife with historical significance. The first Ottawa Alerts women’s hockey team was formed in 1915 and was in action on the ice from January 1916 to 1930, garnering international attention.. Carleton and uOttawa currently play for the Alerts Cup during the annual Colonel By Classic, in a salute to Ottawa women’s hockey history.
The PWHL officially launched in August with the introduction of six teams and the foundation to assemble rosters featuring the best women’s hockey players in the world. Among the stars suiting up for Ottawa are Canadian Olympians Emily Clark, Brianne Jenner and Emerance Maschmeyer, along with American Savannah Harmon. They will be coached by Carla MacLeod, a former member of the Canadian national team. The team colours (and jerseys) are to be red, “storm” and white.
The TD Place Arena at Lansdowne also hosts the 67’s and the BlackJacks while the Ottawa Redblacks and Atlético Ottawa play in the stadium.