According to an NWHL source, the league will expand each team’s regular season schedule to 24 games for the 2019-2020 season.
This is an eight game increase from previous two seasons, where teams played 16-game schedules. In the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, the teams played 18 games in the regular season.
The expanded schedule could incorporate two new Canadian franchises that the NWHL’s Board has already approved the pursuit of. Without an expansion into Canada or elsewhere, the regular season would be 60 total games; with two new teams there would be 84 total games. As things currently stand, with five teams in the league, the regular season series between teams has increased from four games to six games.
In the NWHL’s first three seasons, teams typically only played one game a weekend, with one or two exceptions per season. Last season, teams played two games a weekend when visiting or hosting the Minnesota Whitecaps. It is yet to be seen if the expanded schedule means a longer season or more two-game weekends.
A short schedule has long been a criticism of the league that’s entering its fifth season. The CWHL had a 28-game season in its last two years of operation. The NCAA also plays a significantly larger amount of games.