The NWHL announced Monday morning that the playoffs, Semifinals and Finals, will resume as anticipated. The headline stated that the playoffs will take place on March 26-27 from the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, MA. The two-day event will be presented by lead sponsor Discover bank, and more importantly, broadcasted on NBC Sports Network. Such news couldn’t have been any more appropriate as the story broke on National Women’s Day.
In February, the “bubble” in Lake Placid, NY was compromised. The coronavirus that has stuck around for nearly a calendar year made its presence known yet again. Multiple players/ personnel across a few teams tested positive and safety precautions were exercised to the fullest. The season ended abruptly thereafter, rendering the NWHL’s future uncertain. Thankfully, after a brief hiatus, Commissioner Tyler Tumminia broke the silence regarding the news of the rescheduled playoffs.
“International Women’s Day is the perfect time to promote our athletes who will have the platform to make ‘HERstory’ by finishing what they started in a safe environment.”Tyler Tumminia, NWHL Commissioner
Nothing is more powerful than a person/place/entity that has faced and overcome adversity. The NWHL is no exception. Not only is their second chance at success recognized, but they are receiving a national spotlight as promised. I stress this point a lot but it’s never enough. Women’s sports need an equal amount of media coverage to ‘appeal’ to sponsors and their expanding audience. And with patience and perseverance, the media watched closely to make good on that promise.
“It means a great deal to our athletes to have the opportunity to compete to lift the Isobel Cup and to be supported by partners who are committed to growing the women’s game. We extend our appreciation to the Boston Bruins, NBCSN, Twitch, and our sponsors – especially Discover – for making this possible.”Tyler Tumminia
The NBCSN telecast will put an exclamation mark on women’s hockey. Especially following the Professional Women’s Hockey Player’s Association (PWHPA) recent success with their Dream Gap Tour. The women’s hockey revolution continues to prosper.
“As the home of hockey in the U.S., NBC Sports is proud to showcase the NWHL to a national audience. These live broadcasts on NBCSN further our commitment to showcasing the game at all levels.”Michael Perman, Vice President, Programming, NBC Sports.
Short-Term Residence, Long-Term Legacy
Unlike the bubble atmosphere in Lake Placid, NY, the NWHL has migrated southeast to Massachusetts. The new home for the playoffs, Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, MA is familiar to some, as it is the Boston Bruins practice facility. Most notably, it is the hometown arena for the Boston Pride…which should bode well in their Isobel Cup title run.
Though the Pride has the home-ice advantage, fans still aren’t allowed in the arena. Boston has one of the biggest hockey markets in the country, so it’s going to be tough seeing an empty fan section. Personally, I thought the cardboard fan cutouts that were set up in Lake Placid were a nice touch. You can honestly put any recyclable material in the seats with fans’ faces on it. Nothing will ever beat the energy that the capacity crowds radiate for their teams in person.
“Since 2016, Warrior Ice Arena has been the home of professionals, current, and future, who inspire and elevate performance. We are honored to be chosen to host the Isobel Cup Finals on the national stage and look forward to the excitement and energy we’re accustomed to as the home-ice arena of the Boston Pride.”Jay Rourke, Warrior Ice Arena General Manager
On March 26, the #1 seed Toronto Six will take on the #4 seed Boston Pride in the first semifinal game at 5 PM EST. Shortly after, the #2 Minnesota Whitecaps facing off against #3 Connecticut Whale at 8 PM EST. The winners will face off in the Finals on March 27 for the Isobel Cup at 7 p.m. EST. All three games will be televised on NBCSN and streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app exclusively in the U.S., and streamed via Twitch in Canada and other international markets.
The question that I’m sure is on everyone’s mind…who do you pick to win?? Well, I’ll let you do the research and pick your favorite team and let us know in the comment section! I’m not going to throw my bias into the mix but the team that I’ll go with rhymes with Boston Pride. At any rate, stay tuned for more details as we get closer to the playoffs and prepare to crown the 2021 Isobel Cup Champions.