The Toronto Six and Brampton Beast, ECHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators, have announced a partnership between the two clubs, the two teams collectively announced today.
@TheTorontoSix and Beast Establish Unique Professional Hockey Alliance
— Brampton Beast (@BramptonBeast) January 12, 2021
Both teams being low-budget teams in the hockey universe, a partnership bodes for unique opportunities for shared resources between them. From the press release on the Toronto Six NWHL website, we have the following quotes from Brampton Beast GM Cary Kaplan, and Toronto Six President and Head Coach Digit Murphy:
“At the Beast we appreciate that Women’s Hockey has nothing but growth in its future. We hope that we can play a small smart in exposing more and more people to a spectacular quality of hockey that the Six will provide. We feel that we have a lot in common, as many people have still not appreciated or experienced both the exceptional level of hockey in the ECHL, or the equally strong fan experience that the Beast provide. As both teams work to grow their fan bases and partnerships, the sky is the limit” — Cary Kaplan
“We are happy to be partnering with an organization like the Beast that shares our core values of inclusion, empowerment, and education. Working together in sport is a powerful message that we will take to our fan base in Toronto! Together the Beast and the SIX will use sports as our platform to be role models and leaders in the community!” — Digit Murphy
It’s not yet clear what the “alliance” will actually entail; be it sharing practice facilities, or game arenas when the pandemic is under control, or perhaps the business-side resources like accounting, marketing, social media, or payroll, as examples.
One could hope that it could mean we see women’s hockey players suiting up in men’s professional hockey games. There is precedent here, with Erin Whitten having played goalie with the Toledo Storm, Manon Rheaume having played for three different ECHL franchises before famously playing preseason NHL action with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Angela Ruggiero playing defense for the Tulsa Oilers for one game in the Central Hockey League who are now part of the ECHL. Ultimately I think that this is unlikely due to the impracticalities of sharing hockey players between teams (insurance and whatnot), but if those challenges can be eliminated through this alliance, then I don’t see any reason why Toronto Six players couldn’t feature in Brampton Beast games some time in the near future.