Wednesday, 15 April 2015

NWHL announces inaugural puck drop to take place in October

The vision of former Northeastern Huskies competitor, Dani Rylan, the newest incarnation of the National Women’s Hockey League is scheduled for its first puck drop on October 17, 2015. Announced as the first women’s hockey league to compensate its competitors, Rylan spent over a year on a business plan while securing sponsorships and ice time.

Based in the Northeastern United States, the league shall launch with four charter teams; the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters. Of note, it marks the first time that New York State shall enjoy women’s hockey at the pro level.
Plans are also in place to host an All-Star Game, while the inaugural championship shall be contested in March 2016. Taking into account that the NHL's New York Islanders are relocating to Brooklyn, the concept of the league's All-Star Game taking place at Nassau Coliseum would be a remarkable breakthrough for the league.

Each shall host nine home games during the 18-game season, although arena details have yet to be released. Financially, each team shall operate under a salary cap of $270,000 with a maximum salary allowable to any player in the sum of $15,000. Four-time Winter Games participant Angela Ruggiero shall also serve in a consulting capacity for the budding league.

The first week of May shall see the opening of free agency, providing fans an early indication as to which teams shall acquire the top talent, including which stars shall reap the maximum player salary. Acquiring the right talent may prove to be a defining moment for said teams. As a side note, teams will also hold free agent talent camps on May 9, 2015.

Additional talent shall be obtained through an amateur draft to be held in June 2015. Details have not yet been disclosed as to how many rounds shall be held. Of note, the most unique aspect in said draft is that players with one year remaining of NCAA eligibility shall be allowed to declare. Teams will be able to hold their rights until graduation, and then attempt to sign them to a contract.

Establishing itself in the charitable community is another goal that the league shall work proudly towards.  With the creation of the NWHL Foundation, the league will focus on increasing awareness of the women’s game through grassroots initiatives. Additionally, a series of in-game promotions will feature theme nights such as breast cancer research and acknowledgment of the Armed Forces, helping to raise funds.

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