Did you know that there is a women’s professional hockey league?
The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) was formed in 2015 and has four teams: Buffalo Beauts, Boston Pride, New York Riveters and Connecticut Whale. The league placed teams in these markets because they are considered to be strong traditional markets for hockey.
The NWHL is the first U.S. women’s professional hockey league. The league operates with a salary cap of $270,000 per team and a minimum of $10,000 per player. Into the second season, the league cut salaries in an attempt to strengthen the league.
The Boston Pride won the first Isobel Cup Championship over the Buffalo Beauts. The Isobel Cup is named after Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley’s daughter who shared his love of the game and was one of the first female hockey players in Canada.
Boston is currently undefeated at 8-0-0 and in first place.
Brianna Decker (Boston) and Kelly Babstock (Connecticut) are the league’s leading scorers with six goals apiece. Brittany Ott (Boston) is the leading goalie with a 1.14 Goals Against Average.
In recent news, the NWHL became the only professional sports league in North America with an openly transgender player. The league is establishing policy on how they will address transgender players in the future.
The league has no plans for expansion anytime soon but rather focusing on strengthening the teams they have and working to secure a national television contract. Right now, the league has limited exposure on regional cable networks but needs more exposure to generate more interest. It would probably be a good thing if the National Hockey League (NHL) offered some support. Maybe a few double-header games with the men’s teams would be a boost for the league.