Joy Drop: Celebrating a record crowd, and honouring a deserving champion

Saroya Tinker shows off her championship ring won as a member of the Toronto Six of the former Premier Hockey Federation. (Shireen Ahmed - image credit)
Saroya Tinker shows off her championship ring won as a member of the Toronto Six of the former Premier Hockey Federation. (Shireen Ahmed - image credit)

Friends, I can't begin without stating how wonderful it has been to be able to be in historic spaces in sports and work and participate in the events.

Last Friday night, I was among more than 19,000 people who attended the PWHL's "Battle on Bay Street" between Ottawa and Toronto at Scotiabank Arena. The energy was infectious and I have never attended a hockey game before where the energy was this electric. I have attended many games there and this one was indescribable. Cheering, engagement and happiness. I almost choked up a few times as Iooked around an arena packed with those who believe in, support and love women's hockey. I felt grateful to be there because it made me so happy.

There were thousands of girls in their own jerseys presenting themselves as part of the sport.

I am lucky to be able to tell stories about sports and this one in particular is truly splendid. I am still processing the moment. I also managed to procure some art from Gabrielle Drolet last week. I added her to last week's Joy Drop and requested some art in honour of the game. She did not disappoint.

Hockey wasn't the only place tearing up records this past week. Arsenal FC broke a Women's Super League record with 60,160 fans at Emirates Stadium. Canada's Cloé Lacasse scored and the Gunners took the match 3-1. But the growth and commitment of fans never gets dull.

Speaking of joy, I was so touched by Arshdeep Bains of Surrey, B.C. making his NHL debut with the Vancouver Canucks in Denver on Tuesday night. There are only four players of Punjabi (Indian) descent in the league. His father, Kuldip, attends every single game when his son plays with the AHL team in Abbotsford, B.C.

Kuldip was was on hand to watch his son's first game as an NHL player. There is no question that hockey can often be a difficult place to navigate for racialized players. This moment is important not just for Bains and his family, but for a whole community of people who see themselves in him, and can now visualize their own dreams.

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts is a showcase of the best in Canadian curling — we see legends, sportsmanship and dramatic storylines. But what we also see are tremendous accessories. Yes, friends, curling-inspired fascinators. This is a trend I could certainly get behind.

In a fun story about tides turning is Emma Finlan. This open-water swimmer from Edmonton narrowly missed the Olympics by 0.7 seconds. Fortunately, one of the spots was unclaimed and Finlin was granted the spot.

On Thursday, I attended the ring ceremony of the Toronto Six of the shuttered Premier Hockey Federation (PHF). The team won the Isobel Cup in 2023. It was an evening of immense joy and celebration. I snapped a photo of now-retired Saroya Tinker modeling her championship bling (see main photo.) Her grin reflects the happiness of those around her. What a tremendous moment for all the players, staff and owners.

I love these stories. If your tide is high, I hope it turns.

Have a great weekend!