National Women’s Hockey League brings pride to Boston
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By Abbey Wilson
Boston is a city known for its sports teams and their passionate fans. Now, the city will get a new team to cheer for in a women’s hockey league.
It was recently announced a new women’s hockey league has been formed, the National Women’s Hockey League, and will include a team based in Boston.
While there is already an existing women’s hockey league that also has a Boston team, the NWHLis different. They will be able to pay their players, something the Canadian Women’s Hockey League is currently unable to do.
The league will start with four teams: The Boston Pride, The Connecticut Whale, The New York Riveters, and the Buffalo Beauts.
“We will boast the best of the best in women’s hockey for 18 games, once a week, from October to February, with two rounds of playoffs to finish the season,” According to a statement by the league’s office. “We are launching the league on April 13 and our games start in October. Players will be paid and have a say in the rules of the league.”
This is great news for female hockey players, whose previous options were limited to the CWHL.
Juniors and seniors in college are eligible to be registered and drafted. Any player who has already finished college and has not been drafted will become a free agent.
Suffolk University’s Associate Athletic Director Jaclyn Davis believes the more professional women’s sports leagues, the better.
“I think Boston is a great city to have any sports,” said Davis, also the softball coach. “There’s not great opportunity for women in professional sports. I think it is great that they’d start that, especially for hockey, who does not have many collegiate women’s teams anyway.”
Each team will receive an operating budget for players and staff salaries, and with other expenses. The NWHL has a salary cap of $270,000 which, according to the Yahoo sports blog Puck Daddy, comes to about $15,000 per player. This is small compared to what even entry-level NHL players are paid, but it will be the equivalent of a part-time job, making it easier for international players to get work visas.
The league will also provide players with gear, according to the league’s commissioner Dani Rylan.
Rylan, a Northeastern graduate, had originally attempted to get a CWHL team in New York, but instead ended up founding the NWHL, along with retired U.S. women’s hockey star, Angela Ruggiero.
The league is a dual-entity, with part of the business being league operations, and the other side is the NWHL Foundation, a charity with the intent of spreading women’s hockey through grassroots efforts, according to Puck Daddy.
This does mean competing with the CWHL for viewers. Although, Rylan said she sees the two leagues co-existing.
The CWHL released a statement saying they are aware of the NWHL by saying, “first and foremost, is committed to growing women’s hockey in both Canada and the United States … it is taking all necessary steps and measures to protect its interests.”
There has been some backlash about the idea of the two leagues competing, but the business model of the NWHL makes more sense for the players, who deserve to be paid just like their male counterparts.