Hockey is one of the most popular sports played throughout the world. It is arguably one of the most popular sports in Canada and the United States, but more so in Canada. Canada loves hockey for many reasons, whether for their love for their favorite teams or simply because NHL betting is interesting and dynamic.
Men’s hockey is quite popular, but what about women’s hockey? Is it as popular and does it attract as much attention as men’s hockey? It most certainly does attract attention, and the National Women’s Hockey League is responsible for it.
The National Women’s Hockey League
The National Women’s Hockey League was formed in 2015 in the United States. It currently has 5 teams participating but in its year of inception it had only 4 teams. The league is often called the NWHL and its inaugural season was the 2015-2016 season. There were 4 teams to start with, the Boston Pride, the Connecticut Whale, the Buffalo Beauts and the Metropolitan Riveters. All of these teams, except the Whale, have won a single championship title, called the Isobel Cup.
The event was similar to any franchised event, having a regular season and knockout matches. But, due to there being only 4 teams, all of the teams proceeded into the semi-finals.
The Fifth Element
The 4 teams played for 3 seasons without getting any new competition. During those 3 seasons, different teams took a title, each. When the 2018-2019 season came, a fifth team was introduced into the league, called the Minnesota Whitecaps. The Whitecaps ended up being first in the regular season.
Having 5 teams in the league disrupted the pair system and this was settled by a play-in match between the last two teams, in this case, the Whales and the Riveters. The Riveters won, only to be dismantled in the semi-finals with a score of 5-1, by the Whitecaps which were crowned champions in their first year in the NWHL.
Sponsors and Partnerships
Each league which has a franchising system must have partners and sponsors in order to thrive. The NWHL also has its sponsors, namely Dunkin’ Donuts, which is a major corporate sponsor, as well as the New Jersey Devils and the Minnesota Wilds, both NHL teams. The Boston Bruins of the NHL are also partnered with the Boston Pride. The Buffalo Beauts were bought by the Pegula Sports and Entertainment, a company which also owns the NFL club Buffalo Bills and the NHL Buffalo Sabres, a herd of buffalos.
The CWHL Disaster
While not strictly a disaster, it is a large inconvenience for the NWHL that the Canadian Women’s Hockey League was discontinued, on May 1st 2019. This presents a problem because two teams from the CWHL were looking to be introduced into the NWHL and none other than the Toronto Furies and the Les Canadiennes de Montreal, the team which has the most CWHL championship titles, 4 of them.
This might present a smaller problem, but the NWHL is still in talks with owners of both clubs and the talks might go either way. Whether the two teams will be inducted into the NWHL or whether two new teams will be started in Toronto or Montreal is a question which only time will answer.
The National Women’s Hockey League is looking to become one of the best hockey leagues out there. With the support of the NHL and other sponsors, the league will have both financial backup and that of the fans. With that in mind, more teams in the NWHL should be expected in the years to come.