This weekend kicked off the inaugural season for the National Women’s Hockey League. There were ceremonies in both Stamford, Connecticut and Buffalo, New York, where the two ceremonious and history making games were taking place. Manon Rheume, the first woman to play hockey in the NHL, dropped the puck in the opening day game between the Buffalo Beauts and Boston Pride, while Dani Rylan, the Commissioner of the NWHL, dropped the puck for the Connecticut Whales and New York Riveters game.
The NWHL was launched in April by Dani Rylan who was a former hockey player at Northeastern University. The league will generate its income from sponsors as well as through NWHL Foundation, a charity sector of the league that is there to help spread the awareness of women’s hockey via grassroots efforts.
In an interview with the media Rylan said, “We’re thrilled to be launching the first-ever paid professional hockey league and creating a platform for these talented women.”
At the launch celebration in April, Rylan read aloud a statement of support from the National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman,”The National Hockey League supports the growth of women’s hockey at all levels. We wish the NWHL well as it presents the women’s game to a larger audience, provides outstanding female athletes and additional opportunity to compete at the professional level and inspires girls and women to strive for hockey excellence.”
The league is currently composed of four founding teams, the Buffalo Beauts, Boston Pride, Connecticut Whales, and the New York Riveters. Each team will host nine home games during the season which will run from October and will conclude with their playoffs in March.