Joy Drop: Toronto hosting a WNBA game is great news for women’s basketball

Joy Drop: Toronto hosting a WNBA game is great news for women’s basketball

What a winning week. We’re not far from the men’s World Youth Championship and Canada’s dominance on the ice continued with a huge win for the women’s U18 team at their World Championship.

your 10-0 win about Sweden (yes, 10) was amazing. Waterloo’s Caitlin Kraemer scored a hat-trick in the first period – the fastest in tournament history. How about some extra adrenaline in your veins?

I am also particularly happy because this is my birthday week. Some notable January babies are Greta Thunburg, Kayla Grey, Tracy Moore, Muhammad Ali, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Dr. Angela Davis. Two of my CBC Sports colleagues, Aaron and Sunil (birthday twin!), also have January birthdays. Here’s a selfie of us in the office. I find myself in excellent company during this amazing month.

Three people smile at the camera.
Sunil, left, Aaron and Shireen at the CBC Sports office. (Shireen Ahmed/CBC)

In other exciting news that The WNBA is coming to Canada. The Minnesota Lynx and Chicago Sky will face off in a preseason exhibition game on May 13 at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena. It will be televised live and I can’t wait to hear the lineup from the broadcast crew. Canada is not only home to incredible women’s basketball, but also to amazing women in the basketball media. And in 2021, the Raptors became the first NBA team to have one all female team for an NBA show.

The excitement is palpable and I would expect a high turnout. The caliber of women’s basketball is outstanding in the GTA and I’m sure a lot of young ballers and fans would love to see the best players in the world compete here. My family and I plan to attend this momentum event. There have been calls to have a WNBA team in Canada and that pull is only going to get stronger with this game.

Seeing women’s sport thrive in this way is definitely a catalyst for joy. Apart from that, my daughter was abroad for the first women’s football tournament in Saudi Arabia. The host was the Saudi Arabian Football Association. Watching her being selected for the Pakistan women’s team at this historic event and then training with her broke my heart. She’s part of a new movement in women’s football and I couldn’t be prouder. Your team finished second and in such an important year for women’s football I could not have asked for more.

Earlier this week, Scotiabank published a book entitled The hockey jersey. I was delighted to hear about it, especially since it’s a book that features a girl team with a racialized protagonist named Kareema. This is so important considering I can’t remember a single kid’s hockey book that has a BIPOC main character. In fact, according to Scotiabank research, only 1.33 percent of the top 150 best-selling children’s books about ice hockey feature a female BIPOC protagonist on the cover.

The story unfolds as Kareema and her team find the strength to be a hockey player – the game they love. Jael Richardson is writing the book with Eva Perron and Chelsea Charles created the beautiful illustrations. One of the most amazing things about this book is that all proceeds go to Ice hockey 4 youth, a Toronto-based organization that engages newcomers and marginalized youth in hockey and educational programs. This collaboration amplifies a history of young, racialized athletes and couples them with an organization focused on social inclusion and Canada’s most celebrated sport. Of course I liked all of that.

I leave you with one of my favorite Kygo birthday songs featuring John Legend called “Happy Birthday”.

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