NWHL Preseason Schedule Announced, Includes Games Against Team Russia

The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) has announced their 2016 preseason slate, which will kick off on Sept. 22 and run through Oct. 2, which is less than a week before the league opens its second season.

The big reveal is that NWHL clubs will play a five-game series against the Russian National Team. That will include a game against the Isobel Cup-champion Boston Pride and two games each against the New York Riveters and Connecticut Whale. Team Russia will not face the Buffalo Beauts.

Each NWHL club will play two preseason games against non-league teams. Boston rounds out their schedule with a game against Boston College, who was just one game removed from a perfect season last year. (It was also just announced that Boston College will play an outdoor game against Harvard at Fenway this season.)

Buffalo will take their preseason tilts by playing a game against the Buffalo Jr. Sabres and one game against Brock University.

Conspicuously absent are the Minnesota Whitecaps. It’s a logistically challenging feat to get the team out for NWHL games, but there has always been speculation that the Whitecaps may be the first expansion club with the NWHL. Much of that is simply because of the huge number of U.S. national team players that play for the Whitecaps. They would instantly be a very competitive team. However, geographical and financial circumstances make that expansion difficult to execute.

Last season the Whitecaps played preseason games against NWHL teams and the Boston Pride went to Minnesota during the league’s December break for an exhibition game.

See the full NWHL preseason schedule below. All times eastern.

Boston Pride at Boston College
Thursday, September 22nd, 7:00PM
Kelley Rink at Conte Forum

Boston Pride vs. Team Russia
Saturday, September 24th, 7:00PM
Warrior Ice Arena

New York Riveters vs. Team Russia
Sunday, September 25th, 4:30PM
Barnabas Health Hockey House at Prudential Center

Buffalo Beauts vs. Buffalo Jr. Sabres
Sunday, September 25th, 7:00PM

New York Riveters vs. Team Russia
Monday, September 26th, 7:00PM
Mennen Arena in Morristown, NJ

Connecticut Whale vs. Team Russia
Tuesday, September 27th, 7:00PM
Northford Ice Pavilion

Connecticut Whale vs. Team Russia
Thursday, September 29th, 7:00PM
Northford Ice Pavilion

Buffalo Beauts at Brock University
Sunday, October 2nd, 2:15PM
Jack Gatecliff Arena in St. Catherines, ON