We are the State of Hockey. And, up until this past year, it’s been all about the boys.
The future of hockey for Minnesotan girls and women has been limited: The pinnacle hockey experience relegated to college teams and club leagues. But now, female hockey players in Minnesota have more to strive for as the Minnesota women’s hockey team, the Minnesota Whitecaps, has officially joined the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) becoming the latest professional sport in Minnesota.
Minnesotan women will now get paid to play hockey. Which is pretty cool.
Granted, they don’t get paid a lot. Most still work full time jobs. But it is certainly a step in the right direction – and a historic moment for Minnesota, and for women’s sports as a whole.
The National Women’s Hockey League
The Whitecaps will join four other teams in the National Women’s Hockey League: the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, and the New York Riveters as they all compete to win the Isobel Cup. And we can all share in Governor Mark Dayton’s excitement when Dayton quoted to the Pioneer Press on the day of the announcement, “This is such an exciting day for Minnesota. We are the State of Hockey, so to have a professional team join the ranks of those out on the East Coast is really exciting. … This is going to be a great success.”
Indeed, the Whitecaps will now be able to show off their skills and get the recognition they deserve on a grander stage as the Whitecaps roster has included incredible talent such as 2018 Olympic gold medalists Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, Hannah Brandt, Alex Rigsby, and Kendall Coyne. You can come out to watch the team play eight home games at their official home rink at the new, state-of-the-art TRIA Rink in St. Paul, which is also used as the practice rink for the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.
The NWHL was created only a few years back in 2015 and is the first professional women’s hockey league in North America. And the NWHL certainly differs from other professional leagues as it was created around specific social values:
Equality – Every girl can dream just as big as her brother.
Empowerment – Great role-models deserve the biggest stage.
Inclusiveness – If you can play, you can play.
The NWHL wants to redefine what it means to play women’s hockey, show limitless possibilities for young girls, and be an example for women’s professional sports.
League Founder and Commissioner Dani Rylan said during the announcement of the addition of the Minnesota Whitecaps to the NWHL, “Minnesota is an essential part of women’s hockey in North America. When you consider all of the talented players in this area and the passion this community has for the game, the Whitecaps are going to be incredible on and off the ice. The women’s hockey players of Minnesota are among the best in the world at what they do and now they’ll have an opportunity to play professionally. After all, the young girls of this state should be able to dream as big as their brothers. Having Minnesota in the NWHL expands our national footprint and grows our game in so many ways. This is a monumental step for the NWHL.”
The NWHL continues to build on their already growing fanbase and with the State of Hockey now officially on board, the hope is to not only provide opportunities for women and young girls, but to fuel excitement surrounding women’s sports and to give Minnesotans and the rest of the country simply more chances to watch great hockey.
The Whitecaps will begin their official season with the NWHL on Saturday, October 6 and Sunday, October 7 with a home game at TRIA Rink playing against defending Isobel Cup champions, the New York Riveters.
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