Today, the Minnesota Wild became the third NHL franchise to form a partnership — or “an alignment”, per the team’s press release — with an NWHL franchise. The Wild will provide far-ranging support for the Minnesota Whitecaps in their inaugural NWHL season. The two franchises have been collaborating since the Whitecaps were established in 2004.
Some of the details of this partnership and how it will help the Whitecaps was outlined in the Wild’s press release.
This includes hosting the team’s games and practices at TRIA Rink; the Wild sharing their extensive resources, including support in marketing, promotions, communications, social and digital media, and community relations; and pairing of the clubs’ regular season home openers on Oct. 6.
“The Wild has been a proud supporter of the Minnesota Whitecaps since their inception in 2004,” said Jamie Spencer, executive vice president of business development of the Minnesota Wild. “As the Whitecaps get set to debut in the NWHL this season at TRIA Rink, the Wild is proud to shine an even brighter light on this great team so girls across the State of Hockey can see that they can achieve the dream of playing professional hockey.”
Players on the Whitecaps will participate with players on the Wild in youth hockey events, including Girls Hockey Weekend. The Whitecaps participated in last year’s Girls Hockey Weekend with the Wild which took place at the Xcel Energy Center. “The Whitecaps are looking forward to teaming up with the Wild to advance the game of hockey across all levels, and to partnering with them on many projects to benefit our community,” Winny Brodt Brown, founding member of the Whitecaps, shared in the release.
The Whitecaps’ home opener against the Metropolitan Riveters on Oct. 6 has been moved to 4 p.m. CT/5 p.m. ET so that it can be part of a joint celebration with their partners in the NHL. The Wild will play their own home opener against the Vegas Golden Knights later that evening at 7 p.m CT.
Last season we saw a similar agreement between the Riveters and the New Jersey Devils result in the first NWHL game played in an NHL rink on Oct. 27, 2017 at Prudential Center. That agreement had significant impact on the Riveters both on and off the ice. The same could be said of the Buffalo Beauts who were bought by Pegula Sports and Entertainment just a few months later. The Beauts will host the second NWHL game played in an NHL rink when they face the Whitecaps on Dec. 29 at KeyBank Center, home of the Buffalo Sabres.
Hopefully the Wild will build off of the example set by the Devils and the Pegulas last year.