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The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Women’s Hockey Goes Pro

Ariana Bergeron

The new year marks history for women’s hockey as a new professional women’s hockey league, the PWHL (Professional Women’s Hockey League) has gone full swing into their inaugural season. The six team league was founded in August of 2023 following the dissolution of the PHF (Premiere Hockey Federation) a former women’s hockey league.

The six nameless teams are posted up in both the United States and Canada, calling home to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Boston, New York and Minnesota. Each team is made up of 23 players, and rosters were determined by a 15 round draft that took place in 2023. The league has talent like Hillary Knight, Abby Roque, Emily Clark, Sarah Nurse and first overall pick Taylor Heise in Minnesota.

Each team is scheduled to play 24 games, meaning each team will face off against each other four times. Two home, two away. The league will also showcase their best talent at the NHL All-Star games, in a 3-on-3 game.

The PWHL is the third women’s professional hockey league to sprout up since 2007, arriving after the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) and the PHF. In the past, other leagues have failed to thrive in the market due to competition with the NHL and men’s hockey. The PWHL on the other hand has been booming pulling in an average attendance of a little under 5,000 fans per game. A game played at the Scotiabank Centre in Toronto pulled in over 19,000 fans. The most in women’s hockey history. The game was played between Montreal and Toronto

Currently, Toronto sits atop the league with 30 points (You get 3 points from a regulation win, 2 points for an overtime win, 1 point from an overtime loss and 0 points for a regulation loss.) although Montreal and Minnisota are not far behind.

The newborn league is not afraid to be experimental. The league has implemented many new rules into the game, in an effort to make the game overall better for everyone involved. For example, the league has implemented a rule where when a team is on the penalty kill, if they score a goal while short handed, the opposing teams power play ends early. This new rule can completely change how a team views the penalty kill, and can create a more offensive minded kill. Teams will make more of an effort to score instead of sitting back. This is called a jailbreak. Other rules include no open-ice hits, a handshake line at the end of the game, and the 3-2-1 point season

It is no mystery that pro women’s sports don’t get the same recognition as the male counterparts. But this league is a huge stepping stone in women’s sports history.

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