At the launch event at Chelsea Piers, attendees were welcomed
by the site of a U8 and U10 girls scrimmage – the next generation of NWHLers, inspired and excited for a chance to play professional hockey!
Former Northeastern University hockey player and Commissioner of the NWHL, Dani Rylan set out to create the first paid professional women’s hockey league in North America. The league will operate on income from sponsors as well as the NWHL Foundation, a charitable arm that will spread awareness about women’s hockey through grassroots efforts.
“We’re thrilled to be launching the first-ever paid professional women’s hockey league and creating a platform for these talented women,” says Rylan. “We look forward to helping grow the sport for the best players in the world, and giving these women a place to shine.”
Ice hockey is one of the fastest growing women’s sports in the world, with the number of participants increasing 350 percent in the last 10 years. While there are not as many organized leagues (or as much sponsorship) for women as there are for men, there exist leagues of all levels including the Western Women’s Hockey League, Atlantic Women’s Hockey League and various European leagues; as well as university teams, national and Olympic teams, and recreational teams.
The NWHL will start with four teams and plans to expand the league with additional teams and locations across North America. The founding four teams are the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters. The inaugural NWHL season will take place from October to March, including preseason, an All-Star weekend and playoffs. The puck is set to drop for the regular season on October 17, 2015 and playoffs will conclude the season in March 2015.