THE PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE (PWHL) THIS WEEK

League attendance surpasses 300,000 heading into the International Break

TORONTO, ON (March 26, 2024) – Here’s a look at highlights from the last week of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) season, heading into the International Break.

SEASON-HIGH CROWD IN OTTAWA, LEAGUE ATTENDANCE SURPASSES 300,000

Ottawa continued to raise its own attendance bar when a season-high crowd of 8,448 packed into The Arena at TD Place for Saturday’s game against Toronto. The crowd was the 10th-highest single-game attendance figure across the league this season and the fifth time in nine home games the team has exceeded 8,000 fans. The league’s total attendance through 57 games is 304,019 – an average of 5,334 per game.

ALL-WOMEN EDITION OF ‘NHL TONIGHT’

On Monday, in celebration of Women’s History Month, NHL Network presented a special edition of ‘NHL Tonight’ that featured an all-women’s broadcast crew before the PWHL matchup between New York and Boston at UBS Arena. Kathryn Tappen and Jamie Hersch co-hosted the show in-venue before Hersch took on the play-by-play duties for the game broadcast. During the show, the duo interviewed New York forwards Madison Packer and Jessie Eldridge, along with Boston head coach Courtney Kessel and general manager Danielle Marmer. This was NHL Network’s first all-women program to originate remotely. Last week, Ottawa captain Brianne Jenner joined NHL Tonight for an interview with Tony Luftman, Mark Parrish, and Bob Errey.

PWHL BOSTON JOINS BRUINS LEARN TO PLAY PROGRAM

On Friday, PWHL Boston’s Hilary Knight and Megan Keller hit the ice to help the latest Girls Learn to Play session hosted by the Boston Bruins. The hour-long on-ice session was followed by an opportunity for participants to meet and take photos with the players. Currently in its 10th season, the Bruins Academy program saw a record number of 3,366 skaters with a 36% female participation rate, the largest in the NHL, during the 2022-23 campaign. Learn to Play is a program that provides a unique opportunity for families to join the hockey community and for participants to develop fundamental skills to help them succeed both on and off the ice. Created jointly by the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL), the goal of Learn to Play is to inspire youth and welcome more families into the hockey community.

BIZAL SHARES HER INSPIRING STORY

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hockey Fights Cancer, the NHL is sharing stories of those in the hockey world impacted by the disease on the 25th of each month all season long. Featured this month is the story of Montréal defender Madison Bizal, who battled a rare type of blood cancer between November 2020 and September 2023. The 24-year-old former Ohio State Buckeye rung the cancer-free bell the same month she was selected by Montréal in the eighth round of the PWHL Draft. Read more about Bizal’s courage in this NHL.com story by Dave Stubbs, and in The Athletic by Hailey Salvian.

CAMINS JOINS DUCKS WOMEN IN SPORTS WEEKEND

The Anaheim Ducks hosted a Women in Sports Weekend March 23-24 and Annie Camins, PWHL Vice President of Hockey Operations, was among the trailblazers in attendance to inspire the next generation of athletes and leaders in Orange County. Camins assisted with an on-ice session, was part of an all-female Women in Sports Business and Leadership panel discussion, and took part in the ceremonial puck drop prior to Sunday’s Ducks vs Lightning game. Several Ducks players arrived at the game wearing PWHL jerseys. Ducks Stream ‘Light the Lamp’ host Alexis Downie caught up with Camins and also interviewed PWHL Boston captain Hilary Knight to talk about the league’s inaugural season.

PURCELL NAMED AMONG THE PEAK’S EMERGING LEADERS

Chelsea Purcell, PWHL Senior Director of Corporate Partnerships, has been named among The Peak’s Emerging Leaders for 2024. Honourees represent Canadian leaders under the age of 40 who are driving big change in their respective industries and helping shape the country’s economy, culture, and society. Purcell, who leads sponsorship sales and servicing for the league and all six teams, was recognized in the media, entertainment and sports category.

CANADIAN EMBASSY HOSTS PWHL WATCH PARTY

On Wednesday, the Embassy of Canada teamed up with the PWHL for a special event to celebrate the league’s inaugural season. The evening featured a watch party highlighting two live PWHL games between Boston and Toronto, and Ottawa and New York, as well as the NHL contest between the Maple Leafs and Capitals. Canadian Ambassador Kirsten Hillman was joined by Canadian Consuls General from across the United States, members of Congress, directors and coaches of local girls’ hockey organizations. Among the highlights was a jersey presentation to Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, named honorary captain for PWHL Boston, and New York Congressman Nick LaLota, named honorary captain of PWHL New York. Read more from NHL.com writer William Douglas.

OHIO STATE WINS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

On Sunday afternoon, Ohio State defeated Wisconsin, 1-0, in the 2024 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four final at Whittemore Center Arena in Durham, NH. It was a rematch of last year’s championship, and the second title in Buckeyes history after winning in 2022. Joy Dunne, the NCAA’s Rookie of the Year and the younger sister of PWHL Ottawa defender Jincy Roese, scored the game-winner. Goalie Raygan Kirk was voted the Most Outstanding Player in the tournament, recording 26 saves to earn the shutout in her final collegiate game. The final was played before a crowd of 4,378, which is the third-highest attended women’s ice hockey national championship game in history and largest since 2006. Roese is one of eight former Buckeyes currently competing in the PWHL along with Toronto’s Emma Maltais and Natalie Spooner, and five members of the 2022 championship team — including Madison Bizal (MTL), Clair DeGeorge (MIN), Sophie Jaques (MIN), Liz Schepers (MIN), and tournament MVP Paetyn Levis (NY). That group is among 31 players across the league who have combined to win 50 NCAA titles.

IZZY DANIEL WINS 2024 PATTY KAZMAIER MEMORIAL AWARD

Cornell University forward Izzy Daniel was named the winner of the 2024 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award during a live ceremony on NHL Network at Whittemore Center Arena as part of Saturday at the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four. Daniel is the first Cornell University player to win the honor, which is presented annually by the USA Hockey Foundation to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey. The 23-year-old from Minneapolis, MN, concluded her season with 59 points, including 21 goals and 38 assists, and averaged 1.74 points per game which led ECAC Hockey. The last 10 recipients of the prestigious award are competing in the PWHL and include: Minnesota’s Sophie Jaques (Ohio State, 2023), Minnesota’s Taylor Heise (Minnesota, 2022), Boston’s Aerin Frankel (Northeastern, 2021), New York’s Elizabeth Giguère (Clarkson, 2020), Boston’s Loren Gabel (Clarkson, 2019), Ottawa’s Daryl Watts (Boston College, 2018), Montréal’s Ann-Renée Desbiens (Wisconsin, 2017), Minnesota’s Kendall Coyne Schofield (Northeastern, 2016), New York’s Alex Carpenter (Boston College, 2015), and Boston’s Jamie Lee Rattray (Clarkson, 2014).

GERMANY, JAPAN, SWEDEN ANNOUNCE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ROSTERS

Three PWHL players representing three different countries have been named to rosters for the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship, April 3-14 in Utica, NY. Ottawa goaltender Sandra Abstreiter will play for Germany, Ottawa forward Akane Shiga will play for Japan, and Boston goaltender Emma Söderberg will play for Sweden in the top division tournament.

STREAKING INTO THE BREAK

Two of the league’s longest streaks came to an end, and two more continued in the final games before the International Break. Toronto’s season-high 11 game winning streak, that began Jan. 26, was snapped by Ottawa on Saturday at The Arena at TD Place in a battle between provincial rivals. Ottawa beat Toronto 5-3, and for the third time in four meetings, and marks the first time Ottawa has won consecutive games all season. On Monday, New York snapped its season-high seven game losing streak with a 3-2 win over Boston at UBS Arena. The team’s last win was against Montréal in a shootout on Feb. 21, and their last regulation win was against Boston on Jan. 20. Minnesota extended its winning streak to a season-high five games with a 3-2 shootout win over Montréal on Sunday at Xcel Energy Center. The loss for Montréal is a season-high fourth straight. Minnesota also improved its record to 2-0 in the shootout, while Montréal has lost all three of their shootouts this season. See all results here.

SPOONER LEADS SCORING RACE

Toronto’s Natalie Spooner heads into the break atop the PWHL scoring race with 20 points, including a league-leading 15 goals and five assists in 19 games. She has an active six-game point streak, which is tied for the longest in the league this season, that includes three multi-point performances. New York’s Alex Carpenter (8G 11A) ranks second with 19 points, including a league-leading nine points on the powerplay. Montréal’s Marie-Philip Poulin (8G 9A) and Ottawa’s Kateřina Mrázová (6G 11A) are tied for third with 17 points. Poulin leads the league with a 1.06 points-per-game average, and Mrázová is tied with Carpenter for the league-lead with 11 assists. Minnesota’s Grace Zumwinkle (9G 7A) is fifth in league scoring with 16 points, including a league-leading four game winning goals. She also leads the league with three shootout goals. New York’s Ella Shelton (4G 9A) is the league’s top scoring defender with 13 points which is tied for ninth overall among skaters. See all points leaders here.

WATTS SCORES HAT TRICK

Ottawa’s Daryl Watts became the sixth player in the PWHL to record a hat trick this season when she scored three times in her team’s 5-3 victory over Toronto on Saturday. Her hat trick is the first in team history, and her eight goals heading into the break are the most on Ottawa. The other five hat tricks scored in the league this season belong to Montréal’s Claire Dalton (Feb. 24) and Marie-Philip Poulin (Jan. 10), Minnesota’s Grace Zumwinkle (Jan. 6), New York’s Jade Downie-Landry (Jan. 20), and Toronto’s Natalie Spooner (Feb. 14).

FIRST SHUTOUT FOR MASCHMEYER, WIN FOR HOWE

Ottawa’s Emerance Maschmeyer became the sixth goaltender to record a shutout this season when she stopped all 26 shots she faced in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over New York. Her 19 saves three days later against Toronto gave her a seventh win of the season, tied with Minnesota’s Nicole Hensley for second, behind only Toronto’s Kristen Campbell with 12. Hensley got her seventh win on Sunday against Montréal, playing opposite Elaine Chuli who continues to lead the league with a 1.41 goals-against-average and a .956 save percentage in seven starts. New York’s Corinne Schroeder maintained her second-best .935 SV% in Monday’s win over Boston – her sixth of the year. Toronto’s Erica Howe picked up her first win of the season in her second PWHL start on Wednesday, stopping 28 of 29 in the 2-1 win over Boston. See goaltender stats here.

FIRST PWHL GOALS

Two players scored their first career PWHL goals this past week, bringing the league’s total to 89 different goal scorers. The latest to record milestone markers includes veteran defenders Sidney Morin (BOS) and Kati Tabin (MTL). Morin’s goal was scored on the powerplay in Wednesday’s game against Toronto, with Tabin tallying Sunday to open the scoring in Minnesota. Morin leads all defenders with 55 shots on goal and Tabin leads Montréal’s blue line with 37 shots.

TORONTO HOLDS FIRST PLACE

There are just 15 games remaining in the PWHL regular-season and all six teams remain in contention for the league’s four playoff positions. Toronto (10-3-0-6) is in first place with 36 points and need just one point to clinch a playoff berth, and Minnesota (8-4-3-4) is in second place with 35 points and would clinch a playoff spot with a regulation win upon their return. Montréal (7-3-4-5) is in third place with 31 points, followed by Ottawa (7-0-6-6) in fourth place with 27 points. The two teams currently on the outside of the playoff picture are Boston (4-4-2-9) in fifth place with 22 points, and New York (3-4-3-9) in sixth place with 20 points. All six teams are scheduled to play five games after the break – one against every opponent – beginning April 18. See the full standings here.

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