You can start scheduling your October through March, NWHL fans! The schedule for the fourth season was officially released today.
With the schedule announcement also came confirmation of home rinks. We already knew the Whitecaps would be at TRIA Rink, and the Whale confirmed their return to Terry Conners earlier as well. The other three original teams will be returning to their rinks from last season; it’s the first time in league history not a single team has not changed home rinks.
This will be the third season for the Boston Pride at Warrior Ice Arena, the practice arena for the Boston Bruins (though it is not owned by the Bruins). The Beauts have only called HarborCenter home, and the Riveters will be in their third season at Barnabas — practice rink of the New Jersey Devils — as well.
The regular season will run from Oct. 6 through March 3. Every game will be on a Saturday or Sunday this season. The All-Star Weekend will be Feb. 9-10, with the location to be announced later. There are a few breaks in the schedule, including a holiday break with no games scheduled from Dec. 10 until Dec. 29.
The first game back is probably one of the most exciting, however. The Beauts will host the Whitecaps at the KeyBank Center on Saturday, at 2 p.m., before returning to the HarborCenter on Sunday. The Dec. 29 game is the only one in an NHL rink on the schedule. It will be a doubleheader with the Sabres.
This is a great opportunity to expose new fans to the NWHL, with two extremely talented teams. Thus far, both teams have solid lineups that include multiple Olympians.
As we expected from the Whitecaps rink announcement, the newest NWHL team will play back-to-back games every weekend they have games. They open the season at home on Oct. 6 against the Riveters, the reigning Isobel Cup champions. The Whitecaps schedule looks a bit different from the rest of the teams due to their commitment to play NCAA teams. They have no league games from Jan. 20 through March 2. There are also two weekends when the Whitecaps will play the Pride on Saturday before driving to Stamford to play the Whale on Sunday.
The Whale are set to open their season at home on Oct. 7 against the Beauts. They also have the only neutral-site game on the schedule. For the second season in a row, the Whale will be the home team for a game in Pittsburgh on Dec. 2, facing off against the Riveters. The partnership the league has forged with the Penguins seems to be a strong one, as this is the third season an NWHL game will be played at their practice facility.
The Pride are the only team with the first weekend of the season off; they open their season on Oct. 13. The Boston-based team has a tough schedule. They will play their first five games at home before going on the road for five straight, which includes their trip to Minnesota.
The Riveters have the latest home opener, on Oct. 20. A rematch of the Isobel Cup championship game will have to wait until Jan. 12, when the Riveters visit the Beauts. Similar to last season, the two New York teams will play each other a lot to finish the season. The Riveters and Beauts face off against each other in their final three games.