New women’s hockey league draws record crowds during opening week

The league features six franchises across the U.S. and Canada.




North American hockey fans came out in full support of the new Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) as they kicked off their inaugural season.

The game between Minnesota and Montreal last weekend set an attendance record for the most watched professional women’s ice hockey event according to reports.

The attendance at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota was 13,316 people, the league said.

The opening game of the PWHL five days before, saw 8,318 fans witness the match between Montreal and host Ottawa.

“I knew our fans would show up for us, but they have taken it to a whole new level,” said Minnesota General Manager and three-time Olympic medalist Natalie Darwitz.

Goalie Maddie Rooney, who won gold with the U.S. in PyeongChang 2018, earned a shutout with 24 saves as Minnesota won the game 3-0.

The PWHL will be hoping the momentum of a successful opening week has long-lasting effects, as previous women’s hockey leagues have failed to gain much traction in the North American sporting landscape.

The league, founded last August, currently has three American teams (Boston, New York, Minnesota) and three Canadian teams (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto). They have the participation of the members of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association, which includes many top national team players.

There will be a total of 24 regular season games to run through late spring, with a break for the Women’s World Championship.

The Swedish Women’s Hockey League 2021-22 Championship game held the previous attendance record for a professional women’s ice hockey game with 7,765 people.