Oshawa hockey star taking on diversity & inclusion roles for new women’s pro league

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Published January 31, 2024 at 1:29 pm

Former all-star defender Saroya Tinker, who played on the 2023 Isobel Cup champion Toronto Six, has joined the management team at the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL).

Tinker, who turns 26 February 17, was chosen as the Manager, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives & Community Engagement by the fledgling league, which began play in their inaugural season January 1.

“Saroya already has had a positive impact on the hockey community at large, and she will be an integral part of our team,” said Amy Scheer, PWHL Senior Vice President of Business Operations. “We cannot overstate the importance of proactively creating an environment in which diverse voices are heard and celebrated, and we know Saroya will play a vital role in support of that essential initiative while continuing as a leader in our sport, and our league, moving forward.”

Tinker, who was a multi-sport athlete at Oshawa’s Paul Dwyer High School before a four-year stint with Yale University, has been outspoken about racism and has shared her experiences as a multi-ethnic player in a predominately white sport.

After graduating from Yale in 2020, Tinker created a mentorship program, Saroya Strong, for young women of colour. This program led her to co-found Black Girl Hockey Club Canada, a non-profit organization focused on making hockey more inclusive for Black women and people from historically marginalized communities. She currently serves as executive director of the organization, which provides financial aid, scholarships and mentorship for Black women in hockey.

“I am proud to be working for a league that has been revolutionary in every respect,” Tinker said. “Our goal is to be the most progressive sports league in the world, and I cannot wait to contribute. I have been an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion throughout my entire life (and) take pride in the change I have empowered and the work I have done so far.”

“I am excited to take on this new challenge that will allow me to create a strong foundation in the PWHL, with the hope of contributing to a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive sport overall.”

Tinker played three years of professional hockey and was a two-time winner of the Foundation Award. She was also named to the all-star team in her final season.

Tinker, who played for Canada at the World Ball Hockey Championship in 2017 (winning gold) and at the 2016 U18 World Hockey championships (earning silver) retired in November after she was invited to training camp by the Ottawa club.

Tinker will continue her role as hockey analyst for CBC, TSN and Sportsnet.

“So incredibly excited to be a part of the PWHL team,” she tweeted after Wednesday’s announcement.

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