Nova Scotia

N.S. doctor begins role as chief medical officer for new professional women's hockey league

The new Professional Women's Hockey League has hired a doctor from Nova Scotia to guide its discussions about player health and safety. 

Dr. Tina Atkinson is the medical liaison for all 6 league teams

a woman wearing a red sweater smiles and looks at the camera
Nova Scotia's Dr. Tina Atkinson is the chief medical officer for the new Professional Women's Hockey League. (Tina Atkinson )

The new Professional Women's Hockey League has hired a Nova Scotian doctor to guide discussion about player health and safety. 

"This [league] has been a long time coming and it's really exciting," said Dr. Tina Atkinson, who has begun her role as chief medical officer for the league.

The Nova Scotia doctor originally from Shelburne County has worked and volunteered in sports medicine for over 15 years. She was the team physician for the Canadian women's hockey team that won gold at the Beijing 2022 Olympics. 

In her new role, Atkinson will act as a medical liaison with all six league teams. Training camps are underway.

One of Atkinson's first tasks is to develop policies for every aspect of mental and physical health of players.

"We want everything we do in this new league to be evidence-based medicine and based on the latest research and up-to-date standards," she said. "So that's my goal." 

The PWHL is discussing policies around neck guards, which are already required for the Canadian national women's team. 

Atkinson will continue her sports medicine work in Nova Scotia, including with canoe and kayak athletes at Canadian Sport Institute Atlantic. 

"I appreciate all sports, especially watching people that are the best at what they do," she said.

Atkinson will step away from her role as the team physician for the Halifax Mooseheads. She worked for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team for over a decade, including during the Memorial Cup win in 2013.

Atkinson was also Hockey Nova Scotia's first chief medical officer — joining the organization as a volunteer in the spring of 2020. In 2021, she received the Ken Mantin Award from the provincial hockey organization for her contributions to amateur hockey during the pandemic. 

As she starts into her newest role, Atkinson hopes the PWHL will provide a spark for young female hockey players. 

"They have a league that they can aspire to," she said.

The league has teams in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, New York, Boston and Minnesota. The regular season will start in January.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Luke Ettinger is a reporter with CBC Nova Scotia. Reach him at luke.ettinger@cbc.ca.

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