It was announced during the summer that there would be a new league in women’s professional hockey. The Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) is nearing its inaugural season. Immediately following the announcement in August fans were already flocking to find out as much as they could about this newly formed league. However, there wasn’t much information at first. Now things are beginning to fall into place with just a couple of weeks left before the first puck drops.
The PWHL began with six inaugural franchises and a 24-game regular season schedule per team to begin in January. The locations of the six teams are Boston, Minnesota, New York, Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa. For the first few weeks, the exact locations of these new franchises were yet to be known however the PWHL has since announced the home arenas for these six franchises.
Like many New York teams the New York PWHL team will not be playing in New York State, instead, they will be playing in Connecticut. They will be based out of Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Boston team will be based out of Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, the Minnesota team will be based out of Xcel Energy Center, the Montreal team will be based out of Verdun Auditorium, the Toronto team will be based at Mattamy Athletic Centre and the Ottawa team will be based out of The Arena at TD Place. There was also flexibility added in for the season to allow for the teams to play in "neutral" cities and in NHL arenas in order to allow more fans around the countries to see the action.
Following the draft over 90 players were placed on the six teams and now free agent signings have begun. Many of the league's future stars have been signed to contracts and their preseason training camps and scrimmages have begun. Each team will be playing a 24-game schedule and now after a long wait, the entire schedule has been released..
The season will run from Jan. to May with over 100 games in the regular season. Some highlighted games are the season openers for each franchise. They are as follows:
- Jan. 1 New York at Toronto 12:30 pm ET
- Jan. 2 Montreal at Ottowa 7:00 pm ET
- Jan. 3 Minnesota at Boston 7:00 pm ET
- Jan. 5 Toronto at New York 7:00 pm ET
- Jan. 6 Montreal at Minnesota 3:30 pm ET
- Jan. 13 Boston at Montreal 3:30 pm ET
With the interest in women’s sports higher than ever, it is a perfect time for this new league to make a splash in the mainstream media. Although no team names or mascots have been announced as of yet and probably won’t be for the first season, the team colors have been. The New York team much like their counterparts in soccer, the NY/NJ Gotham, and in basketball with The Liberty, will be wearing teal and white. Tickets are available now for these teams and with their home openers quickly approaching fans should be eager to jump on the bandwagon for the next big thing in ice hockey.