A recent sponsored Facebook post alerted me to the fact that the Buffalo Beauts of the National Women’s Hockey League had just signed their first player, team USA goaltender Brianne McLaughlin. Well that’s awesome and all, but who are the Buffalo Beauts and what in the world is the NWHL?
I decided to dig deeper. I learned that the NWHL is a brand new women’s professional hockey league, with the inaugural puck drop scheduled for this October, and that the Buffalo Beauts are one of the first four teams, along with the Boston Pride, Connecticut Whale, and the New York Riveters. The Beauts will be playing their home games at the brand new HarborCenter, directly across the street from First Niagara Center where the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres call home.
The first NWHL Draft took place last month, and the teams are in the process of signing players to contracts. This is a milestone for women’s hockey as this is the first paid professional women’s hockey league in North America. The original idea Dani Rylan had was to bring a Canadian Women’s Hockey League team to New York, but ultimately she created the NWHL instead.
“We’re thrilled to be launching the first-ever paid professional women’s hockey league and creating a platform for these talented women,” says Rylan. “We look forward to helping the sport for the best players in the world, and giving these women a place to shine.”
The NWHL season will consist of 18 games per team, nine home and nine away, with the season lasting from October until March, including pre-season, an All-Star weekend, and the playoffs. The regular season starts October 17th with each team playing one game each weekend.
For more information on the NWHL, check out their website at NWHL.co.