NWHL Schedule for 2016-17 Released, Features Longer Season

The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) announced the full 2016-17 NWHL schedule on Monday. As rumored, the season will be longer in the league’s second year, moving from an 18-game schedule to 21 games.

That’s great news for the athletes, who will get more ice time and opportunity to be in front of fans. With the standard roster size dropping this season and the salary cap remaining flat, there was a little more cap-space per player, which helps to provide some compensation for the increased length of the season.

It’s not known if 21 games was the goal all along, but rumors were floated that part of the late signing situation for U.S. national team players had to do with figuring out the season length.

The NWHL season will kick off on October 7, a touch before the NHL’s regular season opener, and will conclude on April 16, 2017. The Isobel Cup Playoffs will immediately follow the conclusion of the regular season. The league will also take a short break in February for the All-Star Weekend, set to take place February 11 and 12. The location for the All-Star Weekend has yet to be determined.

No exhibition games have been announced yet, like the ones played against the Minnesota Whitecaps and Japan’s national team last year. The lone oddity in the schedule is that the New York Riveters and Boston Pride will play a neutral site game in Buffalo on October 8 as a part of the league’s opening weekend festivities. All four teams will play at Buffalo’s HarborCenter over the weekend.

Take a look at the NWHL’s full season schedule.