Another calendar year is coming to a close, and the end of a year is always a good time to look back and reflect on where we came from, and how we got here.

It has been a year of great change in women's hockey, but also great progress.

A crazy year began with the folding of the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) at the end of March 2019, which at the time was the lowest point for women's hockey in recent memory.

But since that day, players and leaders in the game have been standing up for themselves and fighting for what they believe in, boycotting the professional hockey season in order to urge decision-makers to make measurable changes.

The Dream Gap Tour was developed to profile the game in various communities and to inspire young girls to play hockey, and to have dreams for their future in hockey.

There have been series of games between Canada and the United States to showcase the game at the very highest level, and so the very top level of female athlete can train for the next International competition. Meanwhile, all around the world, other countries continue to make ground and shrink the gap between the two top countries and everyone else.

Progress is constant, but there is a long, long way to go.

So what's next?

Well, for a sport in such a crucial state, every single day is an opportunity to take steps forward.

Initiatives have to continue to be developed to peak the interest of young fans, the young girls that'll be the next generation of professional players hoping to make a sustainable living off the game.

Sponsors have to come forward with the realization that there is potential in this sport; there are people that care and there are people that want to watch, the sport just simply needs a place to live and grow.

The players have to maintain their stance and not back down, fighting every day for what they believe in and what they need to play this game for a living, even when times are tough.

And the leaders need to make strong, bold decisions and be willing to take some risks to #GrowTheGame, not settling for status quo, as we can see that status quo just isn't working.

2020 has huge potential for the sport of women's hockey; let's make it count.