The players of the NWHL had a little fun on Thursday, posting Throwback Thursday pictures of themselves playing hockey as kids. But they did it with something of an inspiring angle to it, labeling their photos “#tbt to when playing professional hockey was just a dream!”
It’s not hard to see the importance of the NWHL’s inaugural season, but the series of posts from the NWHL players throws into sharp relief the magnitude of the league’s accomplishment, kicking off North America’s first pro women’s hockey league where the players get paid.
That monumental achievement is highlighted by the images of the players as kids, casting a light on how far women’s hockey has come in public recognition since the time when they were kids. With 4.9 million people tuning in for the 2014 women’s ice hockey gold medal game between Canada and the United States, it’s clear that there is significant interest in women’s hockey, particularly when the talent level is as high as you see in the Olympics or in the NWHL and CWHL.
The league has room to grow and will have to in coming seasons, with the average salary sitting at $15,000 right now. But it’s nonetheless a major step forward. Things have already been progressing for the league with rapidly increasing interest from fans, teams rumored to be interested in expansion and many international stars putting their faith in the league before the puck has even been dropped on the first season.
The NWHL season kicks off on October 11 with all four teams — the Buffalo Beauts, New York Riveters, Boston Pride and Connecticut Whale — in action. The teams will each play nine home games and nine away games in the inaugural season.
Take a look below at some of the posts from Thursday’s #TBT campaign.
— Dani Rylan Kearney (@DaniRylan) October 8, 2015
— Kacey Bellamy (@kbells22) October 8, 2015
— Kelli Stack (@kstack16) October 8, 2015
— Jenny Scrivens (@JenScrivs) October 8, 2015
— Meghan Duggan (@mduggan10) October 8, 2015
— Gabriella Figueroa (@GabieFigueroa) October 8, 2015
— Gigi Marvin (@GigiMarvin) October 8, 2015
— Celeste Brown (@celestebrown8) October 8, 2015
— Madison Packer (@madison_packer_) October 8, 2015
— Taylor Holze (@taytwofour) October 8, 2015
— Rachel Llanes (@rachllanes91) October 8, 2015
— Brianne McLaughlin (@BrianneMcL) October 8, 2015
— Amanda Pelkey (@Pelkey21) October 8, 2015
— Morgan Fritz-Ward (@fritz_ward) October 8, 2015
— B. Meghan Fardelmann-Longley (@BMFardelmann) October 8, 2015
— Blake Bolden (@SportBlake) October 8, 2015
— Shiann Darkangelo (@shidark27) October 8, 2015
— Alyssa Gagliardi (@AGagliardi92) October 8, 2015
— Sam Faber (@fabersam28) October 8, 2015
— Chelsea Laden (@ChelseaLaden) October 8, 2015
— Corinne Buie (@corinnebuie) October 8, 2015
— Jess Koizumi (@jzumi56) October 8, 2015
— Victor Belyakov (@belyakov21) October 8, 2015
— Casey (Pickett) Bates (@Casey_Pickett) October 8, 2015
— Molly Engstrom (@engstrom09) October 8, 2015
— 藤本那菜 / Nana Fujimoto (@NanaFujimoto33) October 9, 2015
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.