Elsie Grathwohl

Welcome back to hockey season!  Of course, the NHL has already started up again, but did you know that every mid-to-late October, (and by every I mean the last two years) something amazing begins in the realm of women’s athletics?  That’s right – the National Women’s Hockey League season begins!  So, get out your war paint and jerseys while I make sure my Zamboni license hasn't expired, and settle in for a breakdown of our teams.

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The NWHL is composed of four teams: the Buffalo Beauts, Boston Pride, Connecticut Whale, and Metropolitan Riveters.  Founded in 2015, the league runs from October to March and the winning team raises the Isobel Cup, named after Lady Isobel Gathorne-Hardey, whose father created the Stanley Cup.  This year’s preseason includes games against international competitors, Team China and Team Russia, as well as regular matchups.  

The Boston Pride was the first winner of the Isobel Cup in 2016.  Its captain, Brianna Decker, won NWHL MVP in both 2016 and 2017 and is ready to lead the team to its second Isobel Cup win after a close loss last season.  This year, the team is also host to a sister duo: Mary and Elizabeth Parker!  The Boston Pride plays at the Warrior Ice Arena in Boston and, this season, it is also debuting new jerseys – get tickets here!

The Metropolitan Riveters, based in Newark, New Jersey, is yet to win the cup in franchise history.  This year, the team entered what the NWHL called a 'first of its kind' partnership with the New Jersey Devils, starting with a doubleheader NWHL-NHL game on October 28.  Though the sample size for statistical analysis is incredibly small (since we are only entering the third season of women’s hockey), NWHL sports writer Adam Gavriel predicts that the Riveters will host some high goal scorers this season, with 4 players in the top 7 expected scorers.  The Riveters started their pre-season with a loss against Russia with a final score of 3-2. Get tickets here!

The Connecticut Whale, who has also not won the cup yet, is playing this year in Stamford, Connecticut at the Terry Conner’s Ice Rink, after switching home arenas twice in past seasons.  Its preseason began with an 8-2 loss against Team Russia, but Adam Gavriel’s goal-scoring predictions put Kelly Babstock of the Whale as the projected second highest scorer for the upcoming season.  Find your tickets here!

The Buffalo Beauts started off its pre-season with a 4-2 win against Team China, after winning the Isobel Cup in the 2016-2017 season.  The Beauts play at Harbor Center in Buffalo, New York, and will also play a neutral site game in Rochester, NY against the Riveters on November 4th.  The reigning champs recruited Jess Jones, the co-leading scorer in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, for the upcoming season.  Get tickets here!

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Give the NWHL your support so it can continue to show us strong, talented women, and some great hockey!

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The NWHL has made some inclusive strides in the hockey world: it's the first American hockey league to pay female players, its partnership with You Can Play works towards eradicating homophobia in athletics, and its support for Harrison Browne, the first openly transgender athlete, has demonstrated NWHL's tremendous support for the transgender community.  But the league needs the fortifying fan base of the NHL to continue this streak of all-inclusive hockey.  In this upcoming season, the players are victim to a 50% pay cut, going from a $10,000 to $5,000 salary cap per player.  The league does not have a national television partner, and the upcoming season will be shortened because of the 2018 Olympic games.  Make sure to give the NWHL your support in this upcoming season so that it can continue to show us strong, talented women, and some great hockey!

 

Elsie is a bSmart intern and student at NYU, studying journalism and religious studies.

 

Comments (1)

  1. Meagan Hooper

Love this coverage of the NWHL!

 

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