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An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

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PWHL promises a bright future for women’s hockey

Ushering+in+a+new+era+of+womens+hockey%2C+the+PWHL+attempts+to+create+a+sustainable+space+for+the+womens+game.+Its+in+the+best+interest+of+all+hockey+fans+to+fully+support+this+exciting+expansion.
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Ushering in a new era of women’s hockey, the PWHL attempts to create a sustainable space for the women’s game. Its in the best interest of all hockey fans to fully support this exciting expansion.

Following a series of failed professional women’s hockey leagues, the Professional Women’s Hockey League began its inaugural season in early January. The league, backed by billionaire Los Angeles Dodgers owner Mark Walter, attempts to be the first successful professional women’s hockey league in North America.

Since 2007, there have been three attempts at a sustainable women’s professional league. The Canadian Women’s Hockey League lasted for 12 years from 2007 to 2019; the National Women’s Hockey League was founded in 2015 and later became the Premier Hockey Federation. All have since shut down, largely due to financial concerns.

Despite this, players are hopeful that the PWHL can provide a solution. With the growth of other women’s leagues, such as the Women’s Soccer League and the Women’s National Basketball Association, now seems like a better time than ever to make an investment in women’s hockey.

The PWHL is undoubtedly the most promising attempt at a women’s league in recent years. Not only does it have strong financial backing, but it’s also drawn significant fan interest through the first few games of the season. In their home opener against Montreal, Minnesota drew a record 13,316 fans to the game. That’s higher than the 2023 average attendance of the National Hockey League’s Winnipeg Jets, San Jose Sharks and Arizona Coyotes.

In a time where women’s opportunities in sports are at an all time high, it’s imperative that the game of hockey enters the women’s scene. Not just for the benefit of women, but for the game as a whole. In the 2020-2021 season, USA Hockey membership declined 19 percent. This, in combination with skyrocketing youth hockey costs in Canada, paints a concerning picture for the future of hockey. The creation of a successful and sustainable women’s league has the potential to provide a big boost for junior hockey, getting girls interested in hockey at a young age and growing the game throughout North America and the rest of the world.

Not only is the PWHL important to grow the game, but it is also expanding women’s opportunity in sport. With its huge emphasis on physicality, hockey has traditionally been viewed as a men’s game. This is reflected in the ways in which women’s hockey has previously been implemented: with rules that mitigated a lot of the big hits. The PWHL is doing things differently, not only providing an avenue for talented women’s hockey players to make a living in the sport they love, but also allowing physical play at the highest level of women’s hockey.

Success with a new league like this doesn’t just happen. Unlike the WNBA, which is heavily subsidized by its male counterpart, the PWHL doesn’t receive any funding from the NHL, and will have to sustain itself. If fans of both men’s and women’s hockey want the sport to continue growing, it is crucial they show their support. Even just watching the games goes a long way to promote the league’s future, and this new addition to the world of women’s sports should receive our full backing.

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About the Contributor
Liam Geissler-Norseng
Liam Geissler-Norseng, Comment Managing Editor
Liam is a Junior in his third year writing for the Southerner. Outside the paper, he plays for the Midtown tennis team and is a member of the G3 Robotics team.

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