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Welcome to the 2019-20 NWHL season preview!

FAQs and links to get you ready for the 5th NWHL season

Tom Morris/NWHL

Welcome to the 2019-20 NWHL Season Preview!

So much has changed since the last time the puck dropped. Let’s start with some FAQ’s as we head into season five.

The Teams

There are five teams in the National Women’s Hockey League. The Boston Pride, the Buffalo Beauts, the Connecticut Whale, and the Metropolitan Riveters (originally the New York Riveters) are known as the “Founding Four” due to being the league’s original four teams. The Minnesota Whitecaps, a longtime staple of Minnesota women’s hockey, joined in 2018.

Only two teams will be returning to their home rinks from last season. The Pride are returning to Warrior Ice Arena for a fourth season and the Whitecaps are returning to TRIA Rink for a second year.

The Beauts have moved from the Harborcenter in Buffalo to the Northtown Center in Amherst. The Riveters have moved from their old and easily-accessible home in Newark to ProSkate in Monmouth Junction, NJ. They also have new jerseys this year, going back to white jerseys that somewhat resemble the original design from 2015. The Whale are moving to Danbury Arena in Danbury, CT, and will also be sporting new sweaters; they’re returning to green.

How to Watch Online

This year the NWHL has a new streaming platform — Twitch.

The video game streaming company, owned by Amazon, will stream all NWHL games for the next three seasons. In a first-of-its-kind deal, Twitch is paying the league for broadcasting rights.

Last Season

The Minnesota Whitecaps won the Isobel Cup in their first NWHL season, which means that a different team has won the championship every year. The Beauts made the finals for the fourth straight year, following a late-season surge and mid-season personnel changes. The reigning Isobel Cup champion Metropolitan Riveters struggled all year and finished with a 4-12-0 record. The Whale also struggled, finishing just 2-12-2. The Pride had a resurgent year, but ultimately fell to the Buffalo Beauts in the semifinals.

The Offseason

Professional women’s hockey in North America is at a fascinating time in its history. The CWHL folded suddenly at the end of last season. Around 170 players from both the CWHL and NWHL formed the PWHPA, electing to boycott playing pro in North America until what they deem a “sustainable” league is formed. Instead, they’re training in regional groups and playing weekend tournaments across the USA and Canada during the Dream Gap Tour.

NWHL players who joined the PWHPA range from National Teams players like Shannon Szabados, Gigi Marvin, Nicole Hensley, and Lee Stecklein to longtime NWHL players like Alyssa Gagliardi, Brittany Ott, Kimberly Sass, and Blake Bolden.

The NWHL is going to miss that star power, but there is still a large group of returning players and a wave of promising newcomers. Names like Jillian Dempsey and Madison Packer will be joined by Nicole Schammel, Sydney Baldwin, and Kate Leary.

The NWHL and NWHLPA entered into a new revenue-sharing agreement during the offseason. Players will receive 50 percent of the revenue from all league-wide sponsorship deals. This is the league’s fifth straight season of running on Dunkin’ and its first with new sponsors and partners like Twitch and Chipwich.

Our Previews

We’ll update with links as we publish each preview this week!

Connecticut Whale

Metropolitan Riveters

Boston Pride

Buffalo Beauts

Minnesota Whitecaps

Storylines

Rookies to watch

Returning players to watch

Top Shelf Preview Episode

Required Reading

Get caught up on all the offseason’s happenings with our handy-dandy link guide.

Hayley Moore named team President of NWHL’s Boston Pride - The Ice Garden
Former Pride GM becomes one of three women to be a team president of a major professional hockey team

Women’s hockey’s wildest summer ever, explained - SBNation.com
Everything you need to know about leagues dissolving, players boycotting, rivals uniting, and what to look forward to in the 2019-20 season.

Q&A with NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan - The Ice Garden
Rylan talks about the Twitch deal, the future, and more

Twitch to stream NWHL games - The Ice Garden
The three-season deal includes a rights fee paid by the streaming site

NWHL, Director of NWHLPA release statements in response to #ForTheGame movement - The Ice Garden
The NWHL responds to the movement that is putting its 2019-20 season in jeopardy

NWHL expansion plans in jeopardy, open to talks about “passing the torch” - The Ice Garden
"We fight for progress. We strive to evolve. We’ll always do what’s best for the game."

Q&A with Anya Battaglino - The Ice Garden
The NWHLPA’s Executive Director discusses her perspective on the #ForTheGame movement.

Report: NWHL to expand season to 24 games per team for 2019-2020 - The Ice Garden
Teams will play eight more games next season

Reports: NHL’s financial support of NWHL amounts to $100,000 - The Ice Garden
The NHL’s new commitment to the NWHL is less than the minimum salary of a single NHL player

Attendance numbers, merchandise sales, more from NWHL’s 2018–19 season released by league - The Ice Garden
League plans to provide additional support to Whale, offers transparency and other details from 2018–19 season