The Ladies Have The Ice

NWHL Official Logo
Picture courtesy of nwhl2015.splashthat.com
We're in the midst of history. It's slow-growing, there isn't a mass of revenue, and the fan base will have to form, but women's professional hockey is now a reality. For North American women looking to play, the biggest option before this year was the Canadian Hockey League, an unpaid league for women to play. Now, with a salary cap-driven league, women can play at a major level.

The teams are restricted to the Northeast for now, and that makes sense given the limited budget and the additional support for the sport traditionally seen in the New England region.

Players from the Riveters (left) and the Pride (right) fighting for the puck
Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports
There are 4 teams representing this new league: the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, New York Riveters, and the Connecticut Whales. The league is dominated by American and Canadian players (the Boston Pride have an entirely American roster), but there are some Russian and even a Japanese player in this inaugural season.

The league was announced earlier this year, and the draft lottery and subsequent draft was held in June, the 8th and 20th respectively. Regular season play started October 11th and will continue through February. Boston and Connecticut both boast 3-0 records while New York and Buffalo have both started with 3-game losing skids.
The 4 teams of the NWHL
Picture courtesy of Yahoo Sports
It's a tumultuous time in the sporting community with holdouts bringing down presidents, commissioners facing accusations for bribery, criminals playing on the field, integral fundamentals being taken off the field, and a host of other problems too numerous to count. But in the world of hockey, the ice has reached a new level of equality. The two leagues, NWHL and NHL, are not going to be on the same level of competition or fan support for years to come, but with a demographic hungry for attention and opportunity, we might see some great hockey yet.

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