It’s a season of new for the Blades.
After announcing a new general manager and a new coach earlier in the offseason, the only American-based CWHL team now has a new home, new name, and a new logo.
Starting this season the Boston Blades will be moving to Worchester, MA. They will be named the Worcester Blades and have a brand new (much prettier) logo.
Worcester is a little over an hour outside of Boston proper (with no traffic) in what is locally considered Central Massachusetts. It’s the second most populated city in the state and located on a commuter rail line.
Specifically they’ll be playing at Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center, the practice rink of the ECHL’s Worcester Railers, currently an affiliate of the New York Islanders, and a few college teams. There are two ice surfaces; however, only one has seating so you can safely assume which rink the Blades will play on. There are restaurants on site as well as a gym.
This will undoubtably be a step up from the community rink in Winthrop the team played in last season, which was more or less a sheet of ice with walls and a roof over it. If it was freezing cold outside, it was often much colder inside the rink.
Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center is the Blades’ third new home rink in three seasons. For a while they played in New England Sports Center in Marlborough, MA, a large complex that has multiple ice surfaces in it. The complex is about 20 minutes northeast of their new home. In the 2016-17 season, the Blades called Walter Brown Arena at Boston University home.
The Blades have long been plagued by attendance issues, even before the Boston Pride of the NWHL arrived on the scene. Last season in Winthrop, the town rallied around the team with many games attended by youth programs. Frequently a local nearby store advertised game days on their signage. But, they still were among the lowest attended games, if not the lowest (official attendance numbers are not released by leagues).
It will be interesting to see how the Blades fare in grabbing the attention of fans in Worcester. It is a more contained city entity, much like Winthrop, than playing in Marlborough was. Hopefully they can form partnerships with the local college teams and maybe even the Railers.
A new city also means a new logo, something the Blades have long been hurting for. The color scheme seems to stay the same black and gold.
And FYI, it’s pronounced Woo-ster not War-chester.