Thanksgiving. I’m sure everyone can find something to be thankful for this holiday season. However, this year, something a little more special may be in the minds of many hockey fans, particularly young women who have been a part of, or have looked on at the NWHL during it’s inaugural season.
It’s been an exciting past couple of months for women’s hockey. Just several months ago, young girls and women who loved the sport of hockey were limited, and left without a truly professional platform to display their talents. Sure, the Olympics were there, and an unpaid league in the CWHL, however, the unfortunate truth is that paid women’s hockey didn’t exist.
Oh, what a difference a couple of months can make.
The NWHL seemingly came out of nowhere this summer, when plans to begin the league surfaced rather quickly. However, the league caught fire, as people were extremely interested to see how the first women’s league to pay it’s players would do. The teams were announced, the draft was held, training began and soon enough, the four teams that make up the NWHL were on the ice, making history.
Two months into the season, things have been going even better than expected.
The NWHL has seen a fantastic start. Fans are in, jerseys are selling, and people are watching. The league has already locked down it’s first television deal with NESN, and is growing in popularity at a rapid pace.
Each week has given us something new to talk about, and from the looks of it, the hockey aspect will only continue to get better and better.
But the story of the NWHL is about much more than simply the sport of hockey.
The groundbreaking league has already begun to prove that it’s sustainable. Things are on the rise. The NWHL is paying it’s players, and the goal is to make it a full-time salary in the years to come. Expansion discussion has already begun in the community. Women who would have had to hang up the skates after college just a year ago now have a path that leads to something more. For the first time ever, young women who have fallen in love with the sport of hockey have a chance. Girls playing hockey have a chance to dream.
There’s already a lot to be thankful for when it comes to women’s hockey. And of course…
This is only the beginning.