Now that we know where PHWL games are being played, it seemed like it would be fun to look ahead and detail a few promo nights that might be fun and/or productive for PWHL teams to embrace this season.
Promo nights are win-win situations for the teams, the league, and the fans. Especially in the wake of the NHL neutering their specialty jersey nights, the PWHL can fill an interesting and important niche in the sport. Promo nights build excitement for regular season games, which could create some noteworthy dates on the calendar while we are waiting for rivalries (beyond the geographic ones) and storylines to emerge. They also make content easier for teams to produce because they can build around a theme.
Season tickets are moving very fast, which is tremendous. But theme nights are a great way to build community and bring new fans and families to the rink.
The PWHL will have several neutral site games this year with locations currently TBD. One route to take is picking sites with at least one large local college program and discounting tickets for students would be a great way to get butts in seats.
Doing a game in Providence and partnering with Providence College for a college night would also allow them to tap into the Boston crowd, as Providence is a fairly easy train ride south. With no teams in the Midwest, finding some ice in Madison and appealing to Wisconsin students would be awesome, especially given the number of alums in the league. Wisconsin fans are known to sell out LaBahn for their women’s team, and surely would show up for a well-marketed neutral site game. Teams could spotlight alums from colleges or even sell limited edition merch in the colors of whatever college they’re appealing to. Even taking the opportunity to pull in college students at schools with women’s hockey programs in team markets, like Concordia or McGill in Montréal, or Long Island University, would be a great way to increase the visibility of the sport and have some fun.
This could really be any decade, but lately people seem to love the 90s aesthetic. The hosting team could have a Polaroid-themed photo booth, play only nineties jams, or even have jerseys or t-shirts in the pattern of 90’s bowling alley carpet or those funky cups. You know the ones.
RETRO JERSEY NIGHT
This is an easy slam dunk. Depending on who owns the trademark for these types of things, fans would love a Les Canadiennes night in Montreal (you could even bring in alumni to be honored by the fans). Recognizing the Toronto Six, Toronto Furies, and Markham Thunder in Toronto, the Force in Montreal, the Pride and Blades in Boston, and the Riveters and Whale in New York would all drive crazy amounts of fan engagement, recognize the players who came before, and take advantage of branding that’s well recognized and well-loved by fans and players alike.
Not having Pride Night or pride jerseys would be a huge miss for a league that plays a sport where so many of the players and fans are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Hopefully, they lean all the way in and include LGBTQ+ charities in their local markets. Go big—pregame drag bingo at the rink, pride gear, playlists filled with music by LGBTQ+ artists, spare no expense.
BLACK HISTORY NIGHT
The PHF broke the ice by seeing the Riveters take the ice in a Black Rosie jersey. It would be a shame to see the PWHL lose momentum on this front. Highlighting Black players, past and present, educating audience members about Black history in the team’s local market, partnering with organizations like Black Girl Hockey Club, donating some ticket profits to local Black hockey initiatives and hiring Black artists to showcase their work during this event are all ways that teams can recognize this important cause.
MOVIE / TV THEME
From Star Wars to Spongebob, the Avengers, to Batman, there’s no shortage of fun movie or TV theme nights to be had. Some NWHL/PHF fans may remember a Star Wars night that filled the stands with bounty hunters and stormtroopers – who doesn't want to see a Twi'lek cheering their lungs out?
Would it be silly? Sure, but it would also be fun.