The NWHL has acquired the Minnesota Whitecaps starting in the 2018-19 season, the league and team announced today.
The league will own the team, similarly to how the the first four teams in the league started. Last season, Pegula Sports & Entertainment acquired the Buffalo Beauts, and the New Jersey Devils entered a partnership with the Riveters.
Among those in attendance of the announcement in Minnesota were NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan; NWHL deputy commissioner Hayley Moore; Winny Brodt-Brown and other representatives of the Minnesota Whitecaps; 2018 NWHL Goaltender of the Year Amanda Leveille; and Mark Dayton, the governor of Minnesota.
The Whitecaps and the NWHL have a history of working together. Most recently, the Whitecaps participated in last season’s All-Star Game in Minnesota.
Brodt-Brown coached Team Leveille while Kate Schipper and Sadie Lundquist played for Team Leveille and Team Ott respectively.
“It’s an exciting day for women’s hockey with Minnesota joining the NWHL! The state of Minnesota produces many outstanding players, so it’s awesome that those players can now compete professionally,” said gold medalist, Boston Pride player, and Minnesota native Gigi Marvin in the press release.
“On behalf of my teammates and everyone in the Whitecaps organization, I want to say that this is an incredible moment for women’s hockey in Minnesota and we’re truly excited to become a member club in the NWHL,” said Winny Brodt-Brown, the captain of the Whitecaps, a former member of the U.S. National Team and the first-ever recipient of the Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award, in the press release. “We are determined to have a women’s professional team that the hockey fans of Minnesota can be proud of. I’m looking forward to hitting the ice with my teammates and being able to play for the Isobel Cup”!
The league is excited by the expansion:
“We are ecstatic to welcome Minnesota to the NWHL,” said League Founder and Commissioner Dani Rylan. “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 takes immense pride in providing the platform and the opportunity for high-level players to continue their careers and become even stronger players after college,” said Hayley Moore, NWHL Deputy Commissioner and Director of Player Development. “Expanding to Minnesota, with its rich hockey culture and abundance of elite players, is a thrilling opportunity for the NWHL, its players, coaches and everyone involved to show what we’re capable of. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously, and we can’t wait to get started in Minnesota.”
No other details were made available in the release.