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PWHL to start inaugural sked on New Year's Day

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Published in Hockey
Tuesday, 28 November 2023 11:43

Puck drop will follow the New Year's Day ball drop for the newly established Professional Women's Hockey League, which opens its inaugural schedule with Toronto hosting New York on Jan. 1.

The long-awaited announcement came Tuesday, when the PWHL released the time and dates of each of its six yet-to-be-nicknamed teams' home openers, while also unveiling each franchise's home rinks.

The game between Toronto and New York will be played at 12:30 p.m. ET, and it will serve as a lead-in to the NHL Winter Classic, which features the Seattle Kraken hosting the Vegas Golden Knights at the home of Major League Baseball's Mariners.

"Giving our athletes the opportunity to step onto the ice to compete in front of our passionate fans has been the driving force of our efforts, and it's going to be an exciting reality on New Year's Day," PWHL board member Stan Kasten said. "It's time for the best women's hockey players in the world to lift our game to greater heights."

The remainder of each teams' 24-game regular-season slate will be announced at a later date, with the schedule anticipated to run into early May, followed by a yet-to-be announced playoff format. The PWHL is expected to take an extended break to allow its national team players to compete in the women's world championships, which will be held in Utica, New York, from April 3-14.

The league has been fast-tracking its launch since being established in late June with the financial backing of Los Angeles Dodgers owner Mark Walter and the support of tennis great Billie Jean King. Teams opened training camp this month.

The league's opening game pits a Toronto team made up of mostly Canadian national team members, including Sarah Nurse, against a New York squad that features an even mix of American and Canadian players, including U.S. national team forward Alex Carpenter.

Toronto will play at the 2,600-seat Mattamy Athletic Centre, which is housed in a reconverted complex inside what was once Maple Leaf Gardens, the former home of the NHL's Maple Leafs.

The New York franchise will be based in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where it will play at the 10,000-seat Total Mortgage Arena. New York's home opener will be against Toronto on Jan. 5.

Minnesota will open hosting Montreal on Jan. 6 and will feature the PWHL's largest home rink. The team will play at the Minnesota Wild's 18,000-plus seat NHL facility in St. Paul.

Boston will open hosting Minnesota on Jan. 3 and will play out of UMass-Lowell's 6,500-seat Tsongas Center.

Montreal's home opener will be against Boston on Jan. 13, with the team playing at the 4,100-seat Verdun Auditorium.

And Ottawa opens its home schedule hosting Montreal on Jan. 2 and will play out of the 10,000-seat Stadium at TD Place, which is home to the Ontario Hockey League's 67's.

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