The NWHL’s Boston Pride and the Boston Bruins of the NHL have formed a partnership.
This marks the fourth partnership between an NHL team and an NWHL team since Oct. 2017. Just five months ago, the Minnesota Whitecaps formed a partnership with the Minnesota Wild. Last season, the New Jersey Devils and Metropolitan Riveters formed a strategic alliance, and when Pegula Sports and Entertainment purchased the Buffalo Beauts, the Sabres and Beauts became de facto partners. With today’s groundbreaking news, the Connecticut Whale are the only NWHL team without a partner in the NHL — the Whale are also the NWHL team playing in a state that isn’t also home to an NHL franchise.
The Pride have been playing their home games at Warrior Ice Arena, the Bruins’ practice facility (owned by New Balance), since the 2016-17 season. It’s also worth noting that the Pride have had black and gold jerseys, the Bruins’ colors, since the NWHL’s inaugural season. Before this season, the Pride shared the city of Boston with the CWHL’s Blades franchise. But, prior to the 2018-19 season, the Blades relocated to Worcester. Whether or not the Blades’ presence in the city of Boston served as an obstacle to the Bruins forming a pact with the Pride before this season is unclear. What is clear is that this partnership is a tremendous victory for the NWHL.
According to a Forbes article from Dec. 5, the Bruins are the fifth-most valuable franchise in the NHL. This partnership will give the Pride a massive boost in marketing and exposure, which is invaluable to a team that currently boasts three gold medalists from Team USA’s Pyeongchang roster. It will also mean access to other resources and opportunities for the Pride’s players, who will be attending tonight’s Bruins game against the Washington Capitals to celebrate the partnership.
The Bruins will be supporting the Pride Saturday during their home game against the Whitecaps. A beanie with both the Bruins and Pride logo will be given to the first 500 fans, and Blades, the Bruins mascot, will drop the puck.
“The Boston Pride are incredibly proud to join the rich history and competitive hockey family of the Boston Bruins,” NWHL Deputy Commissioner Hayley Moore shared in the league’s press release. “The Bruins’ commitment to advancing hockey across all levels aligns with what the NWHL stands for. We appreciate this partnership and their support in marketing and player development for the Pride, and we look forward to collaborating with the Bruins on a series of meaningful youth hockey initiatives.”
One key aspect of this partnership is the new Bruins Academy Girls Learn to Play program. The program is designed to make learning hockey more affordable and accessible to girls age 4-10. It will include instruction from certified coaches as well players on the Boston Pride. Registration for the program begins on Jan. 21.
UPDATE: The Bruins clarify the partnership as a “financial, marketing, and outreach” partnership with the Pride. Per Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic, the salaries of Boston Pride players will not go up. The finer points of the partnership — including the dollar amount of the financial support — has not been disclosed by the league.