On March 2015, a huge milestone happened for women in sports. The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) is a professional hockey league for women. This marks the first time women will be getting paid to play professional ice hockey. The NWHL consists of four teams: the Buffalo Beauts, Boston Pride, New York Riveters, and the Connecticut Whale. In the first season last year, the Boston Pride was the first team to take home Isobel Cup, which is equivalent to the Stanley Cup in the NHL.
At the young age of 29, Dani Rylan—a former ice hockey player and the person responsible for launching the NWHL—became the first appointed commissioner for the NWHL. By taking this position it makes her the highest-ranking executive officer in the NWHL.
Another way the NWHL is making history is by having its first transgender player in the league. Harrison Browne is currently playing for the Buffalo Beauts as a center. Not only is he the first transgender hockey player, but he is also the first openly transgender athlete. In an article posted by ESPN Browne was quoted saying, “I identify as a man. My family is starting to come to grips with it, now it’s my time to be known as who I am, to be authentic and to hear my name said right when I get a point, or see my name on a website.” As for his gender reassignment surgery, it will be postponed until after he retires from playing professional hockey.
Despite the NWHL making history as we speak, it still is not getting the support it deserves. In the first season each team had a salary cap of $270,000 per team. This means that each player can be paid $10,000 each. Another way for players to make money is by also profiting on if their jersey’s sell. Now that the second season is just a couple months in, it was recently announced that in order for the league to stay afloat it will take a 50% pay cut. This means that each player will only get a minimum of $5,000 a season. This means that the NWHL needs all the support it can get.
In order to support the NWHL, the first thing someone can do is watch their games. There are plenty of streaming services online and sometimes they are even broadcasted on TV. If you live nearby, buy tickets and support them! Hockey fan or not, it is always a fun and exciting sport to watch. In order for these players to get the recognition they deserve, they need support. Women deserve to be taken seriously in sports and this is just one step closer to achieving that.