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Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson is expected to announce today the creation of a trophy in her name for supremacy in Canadian women's hockey.

In an address to a joint luncheon of the Empire and Canadian clubs at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, the Governor-General is scheduled to fulfill a goal she set last winter, after a debate surfaced over the whether the Stanley Cup should be awarded to women because of the National Hockey League lockout.

Though the Governor-General originally suggested Lord Stanley's Cup be given to a women's team for the 2004-05 season, her idea was not widely endorsed by prominent female players across the country. Instead, they suggested the creation of a new trophy specifically for them.

Clarkson took that suggestion wholeheartedly and has been working toward establishing the trophy before her term as governor-general ends on Sept. 27. She has been intent on following the footsteps of Lord Stanley of Preston, who donated the Stanley Cup while he was sitting as governor-general in 1893 but never saw it awarded during his term.

"I really wanted to do this, just as Lord Stanley did," Clarkson said. "It was important to get it done because people had been so enthusiastic about it, especially women with daughters who wrote and said why don't you submit a Clarkson Cup. They wanted this to come into being so I thought I'd just do it.

"Women's hockey, the playing and interest in it is growing, so this was the right time to do it."

While the actual trophy is still to be created this winter by students at the Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit, it remains unclear just which teams or league will compete for it. At present, there are two women's professional hockey leagues in Canada, the eight-team National Women's Hockey League, based in Eastern Canada, and the five-team Western Women's Hockey League, based in the West.

Both want to a chance to compete for the Cup. However, the two leagues are deadlocked over issues that have kept them from establishing a championship with representatives from both the NWHL and the WWHL.

With no apparent end to that stalemate in sight, Clarkson decided to donate the trophy and then let the leagues sort out their differences if they want to compete for it.

"I think it's a great idea," said Tomas Pacina, partner to Canadian women's hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser, and head coach of the WWHL's Calgary Oval X-Treme.

"Governor-General Clarkson is doing a great job because she doesn't want to get involved in any politics of women's hockey. It's now up to us, the league and the presidents to organize a championship. I don't think it should be that hard."

Clarkson said she was not bothered that there was not yet a format in place for teams to compete for her trophy.

"Lord Stanley didn't know who would play for his either," she said. "When Lord Stanley did it there was no league, it just said excellence in hockey. So that's what it will be. It's my personal gift. I just want to get the Cup out there. I just hope that women who want to play the best hockey in Canada can vie for it."

Clarkson consulted with many Canadian sports personalities, including Wickenheiser, Jean Béliveau and Nancy Greene Raine.

"I think it's a good idea for it to be presented because women's hockey has certainly improved in the last five to seven years," Béliveau said. "I think it's a great gesture of support."

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