The National Women’s Hockey League and National Hockey League formed their fourth team partnership agreement on Thursday, as the Boston Bruins and Boston Pride joined forces in efforts to help grow the game.
The newest partnership agreement will help the Pride and Bruins expand the game of hockey throughout Massachusetts and around New England. The deal will also lend financial support to the Pride as they continue to grow the game of women’s hockey.
NWHL Deputy Commissioner, Hayley Moore said, “The Boston Pride are incredibly proud to join the rich history and competitive hockey family of the Boston Bruins. The Bruins commitment to advancing hockey across all levels aligns with what the NWHL stands for. We appreciate this partnership and their support in marketing and player development for the Pride, and we look forward to collaborating with the Bruins on a series of meaningful youth hockey initiatives.”
One of the highlights of the new deal will be the introduction of the Bruins Academy Girls Learn to Play program. It will give girls ages four to 10 years of age the opportunity to learn the sport of hockey from many of their future role models playing for the Pride.
The Bruins Girls Learn to Play program will follow the same fundamentals and principles of the Bruins Learn to Play program, which is offered every fall. The 100-dollar registration fee gives the future stars, brand new CCM hockey equipment, a professional fitting of the equipment and four weeks of on ice instruction from certified coaches.
The new program will be held at five rinks throughout the Boston area beginning in March. These rinks include; Phillips Academy in Andover, Bog Ice Arena in Kingston, Murphy Memorial Skating Rink in South Boston, Veterans Memorial Skating Rink in Waltham and Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton. Warrior also serves as the practice facility of the Bruins and home venue for the Pride.
Prior to start of the 2017-2018 NWHL season, the New Jersey Devils and Metropolitan Riveters announced the first partnership agreement between teams in the two leagues. Then in January, Buffalo Sabres owners Kim and Terry Pegula purchased the Buffalo Beauts making them part of their OneBuffalo organization.
After the league announced that they would be expanding to Minnesota prior to this current season, the Minnesota Wild jumped onboard to join forces with the new Minnesota Whitecaps. While not yet having a NWHL team in their markets, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators have also worked with the league to help expand the game of hockey.
The Penguins hosted the 2017 NWHL All-Star Game as well as neutral site games at their practice facility, the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township, PA. The Predators will host the 2019 NWHL All-Star Game on February 10, as they welcome the league to Bridgestone Arena for the festivities.
NWHL Commissioner, Dani Rylan said, “In just the last 15 months, four NHL teams have secured mutually-beneficial partnerships with our clubs. We are proud of these alignments with NHL franchises. Our league office and teams work hard to be strong collaborators. As the Bruins will see, there is a lot that the Pride will bring to the table as they build women’s and girls’ hockey programs in their community.”
To celebrate the new agreement, the entire Pride team will at TD Garden on Thursday night as the Bruins take on the defending Stanley Cup Champions, Washington Capitals. Pride players will take part in many of the events throughout the night. Fans in attendance can visit them at their table on the concourse to learn more about the team and the girls learn to play program.
The Bruins will support their new partners at their home game against the Whitecaps at 7:30 PM on January 12 at Warrior Ice Arena. Team mascot, Blades will drop the ceremonial puck. For tickets visit www.nwhl.zone/tickets.
The Bruins and Pride’s agreement leaves only the Connecticut Whale, who play their home games in Stamford, CT as the lone NWHL team without an NHL dance partner. With this new partnership, hockey fans may get the chance to see more NWHL games in the bigger NHL arenas. Currently, only the Riveters and Beauts have hosted games in the bigger venues.