Boston Pride

Boston PrideThe National Women’s Hockey League is the first professional hockey league in the United States to pay its players.  The league began play in 2015 and looks to gain a following among hockey-crazied areas in the Northeast.  Teams in Buffalo, New York, Hartford and of course, Boston make up the NWHL.  The Boston Pride have been one of the most successful teams in the league’s short history, winning the inaugural Isobel Cup at the end of the 2015-16 season.  The team plays its games at the Warrior Ice Arena, which also serves as the practice facility for the Boston Bruins.Pride Isobel Cup

The Pride have been the most successful team since the NWHL began play in 2015.  Through two seasons of play, the team holds a record 35-5-1 which includes winning the first-ever Isobel Cup, which serves as the trophy for the league champion.  The team went 14-3-1 in the 2015-16 regular season and ran through the playoffs with a 4-0 record in the postseason.  During the 2016-17 season, the Pride ran through the regular season with a 16-1 record before being upset by the Buffalo Beauts in the Isobel Cup Championship.  The team has also seen its players win various awards given out out by the NWHL:

MVP

2016: Brianna Decker

2017: Brianna Decker

 NWHL Scoring Champion

2016: Hilary Knight

2017: Brianna Decker

NWHL Foundation Award

2016: Denna Liang

NWHL Perseverance Award

2016: Denna Liang

Defensive Player of the Year

2016: Gigi Marvin

Goaltender of the Year

2016: Brittany Ott

On December 31, 2015, the Pride participated in the 2016 Women’s Outdoor Classic, the first ever women’s outdoor hockey game.  It took place at Gillette Stadium the day before Denna Liangthe Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadians.  The Pride faced off against Les Canadiennes of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.  The game ended in a 1-1 tie but was overshadowed by a spinal cord injury to Pride player Denna Liang.  The former Princeton star crashed in the boards late in the first period of the exhibition game and was air-lifted to Massachusetts General Hospital.  After spending 133 days in the hospital, her story and road to recovery has become an inspiration in the hockey world.  She is still listed on the roster on the Pride website, and in 2017 she and NHL star Bobby Carpenter crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon after completing the race with him pushing her the entire way.  Liang was honored at the 2017 NHL Awards in Las Vegas and continues to inspire the world in her recovery efforts.Denna Liang Marathon

As it is with any new league trying to grow and expand, the NWHL actively recruits free agents in order to grow the talent of players and eventually expand the amount of teams that play.  The league will traditionally have a restricted free agency period where teams can re-sign players from the previous season as well as draft selections.  Unrestricted free agency will typically begin on June 1 and last throughout the season.  The NWHL Draft will happen in the middle of August, a five-round draft where each team will draft new players, usually recent college graduates.  Players are encouraged to fill out the free agency form on the website, and in addition to contact any teams that she may have interest in playing for.Warrior Ice Arena Overhead

Tickets for all Pride game can be purchased online through the Pride website and through the league as well.  The Warrior Ice Arena is located at 90 Guest Street in Brighton and can seat up to 600 fans and has a corporate hospitality suite for fans to watch the game from as well.  The NWHL has a policy where players will receive 100 percent of ticket revenue after 500 seats are sold.  That means that every ticket bought will help increase player salary in order to grow and expand the sport of women’s hockey.

Be sure to catch a game at the Warrior Ice Arena, and support the growth of this great team.  If you cannot catch a game in person, you will likely find a game to watch on TV.  During the team’s first two seasons, NESN aired a total of 10 Boston Pride games on either NESN or NESNplus.  All games are streamed for free online with the NWHL Cross-Ice Pass for those outside of the Northeast.  The league also has a deal with the streaming service Cheddar, which airs on Sling TV, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook Live.  There are many ways to catch a Boston Pride game, all you have to do is choose how you plan to do so.NWHL_CrossIcePass_Final_large__1__large_large

 

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