Hilary Knight will captain the PWHL Boston women’s team.
In late June of 2023, the PHF (Premier Hockey Federation) and the PWHPA (Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association) came together to form a new league, the PWHL (Professional Women’s Hockey League). This union was formed by the two competing women's leagues under multiple ownerships, including tennis legend Billie Jean King.
The new league will begin with six original franchises, located in Boston, Minneapolis St-paul, New York, Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa. While a single league has many positive connotations, professional women's hockey is going from ten teams between two leagues to six teams overall. All of the PHF contracts were voided, and player representation comes exclusively from former PWHPA players,
The league released team names but has announced a reconsideration after backlash. The league's jerseys originally faced a lot of backlash for their simplicity, but the league has stated that they are temporary for this inaugural season. Fans have a lot of hope for the league, but there is a lot to say about the popularity of the former PHF franchises. For example, the Boston Pride was a popular team that sold out games and had consistent merchandise sales. As the PWHL is a merger, one might suggest utilizing the fanbase and marketing of an already popular team that has a great name and multiple jerseys.
Before the January inauguration, the PWHL held scrimmages in early December, where tickets were sold, and rules were tweaked, such as penalty kill icing. The games have already become a hot ticket, as Toronto season tickets sold out in two days. The first game will ring in the new year on January 1, 2024, with Toronto playing New York. A 72-game schedule is set from January 2024 through May 2024, with a break in between during late March for the World Championship. For the NHL All-Star weekend in Toronto, the league has a three-on-three exhibition game scheduled, as well as a match between Toronto and Minnesota on February 3, 2024. Depending on the person, a fresh start may or may not be what women's hockey needs, but this new league will be exciting and hopefully profitable enough to stay in one league.