The national sport in Canada is hockey, so naturally the Canadian Hockey Women’s Hockey League has grow to be one of the most popular women’s hockey league’s in the world. The league currently houses six teams, with four located in Canada, one located in China and located locally here in Boston. The league’s fosters growth of the women’s game throughout the world, as one of only a few league’s in the world that spans multiple continents. The addition of the Chinese team Kunlan Red Star comes with the goal of growing the sport of women’s hockey in China prior to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. Boston is the only city in the United States that can call themselves to a CWHL franchise, with the Blades being founded back in 2010 and beginning play in the 2010-11 CWHL season. The Blades have won two Clarkson Cup championships and have seen incredible success since joining the CWHL.
It was announced on August 12, 2010 that Boston would become the first United States city to receive an expansion franchise in the CWHL. To this day, the city remains the only US presence in the league. An expansion draft took place so that the team could fill out its roster and Erin Whitten was named the franchise’s first head coach. The team’s first roster was highlighted by four-time Olympian and Hockey Hall of Famer Angela Ruggiero. The team was widely successful, reaching the postseason in each it’s first five seasons. Their inaugural season saw a third place finish against previously existing squads, while their second season saw great improvement with a second place finish and another appearance in the CWHL playoffs.
The Blades broke through in the 2012-13 season and saw the most success in their team’s short history. A 19-4-1 record landed the team in first place in the regular season and became the favorites to win the Clarkson Cup, behind rookie league MVP Hilary Knight. The team defeated the Montreal Stars 5-2 in the championship game to capture the first Clarkson Cup in team history in only their third season. The Blades became the first non-Canadian Team CWHL team to win the Clarkson Cup. Although the 2013-14 season ended with a loss in the Clarkson Cup Finals, Jessica Koizumi became the first player in franchise history with 50 career points. In the 2014-15 season finished the regular season with a 15-2-1-6 record, which was best in the regular season and landed them another #1 seed in the playoffs. They advanced to the Clarkson Cup Final were they once again matched up against the Montreal Stars. Regulation in the game ended with a 2-2 tie and went to overtime, where Janine Weber scored a Clarkson-Cup winning goal on a pass Corinne Buie, her former roommate in college.
As well as the incredible team success on the ice, the Boston Blades have seen many players and coaches be recognized individually by the CWHL, winning various awards since 2013:
2013: Hilary Knight
Coach of the Year
2013: Digit Murphy
Goaltender of the Year
2013: Genevieve Lacasse
2014: Jillian Dempsey
2015: Brianna Decker
Defenceman of the Year
2015: Tara Watchorn
Clarkson Cup Final 3 Stars
2013: Genevieve Lacasse (3rd Star)
2014: Brittany Ott (3rd Star)
2015: Hilary Knight (1st Star)
2015: Brianna Decker (2nd Star)
The Blades have played at a variety of hockey rinks in the Boston area throughout the team’s history. The team currently uses Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University for the majority of games, they also call UMass-Boston’s Edward T. Barry Ice Rink a home. They have also used Bright-Landry Hockey Center at Harvard, Tsongas Center in Lowell, Boch Ice Center in Dedham, John Ryan Arena in Watertown, New England Sports Center in Marlborough and Veterans Memorial Rink in Somerville. The wide-variety of venues across eastern Massachusetts gives fans in many areas the ability to catch a game with some of the top women’s hockey players in the entire world. Be sure to catch a game this upcoming season.