The news we all knew was coming was finally announced on Monday: The Boston Pride of the NWHL and Les Canadiennes de Montreal of the CWHL will face off at the Winter Classic site on New Year's Eve.
There was a lot of general information published today. We've added a few more details not included in the press release.
The game itself will take place on Thursday, December 31 at 2:00 p.m. ET, prior to the Winter Classic Alumni Game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. From what we've gathered, play will be two 15-minute halves with a brief intermission, but that's subject to change based on weather and ice conditions.
Doors open at 1:30 p.m. ET. If you have a ticket to the Alumni Game, you're golden for the women's game. If not, you can buy a package through the NHL site or you can purchase a ticket for as low as $6 (USD) through StubHub as supplies last. There is NO ticket available for the women's game only.
[UPDATED] One massive area of confusion is the media coverage. The Alumni Game will be broadcasted on NBCSN in the US and Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada. NHL Network's programming for the week has a recap show penciled in at the time of the women's game. Therefore, no broadcast of the women's game on TV. With that being the case, online streaming is likely out, too.
Why? To put it bluntly, visuals. If a majority of the stadium seats are empty, that's not going to look good. It is absolutely unfair, but it's the nature of sphere right now. Last-minute game means less time for marketing, publicity and ramping up ticket sales. The NHL is going to direct their media resources at the focus of the Winter Classic - the Bruins and the Canadiens.
The NHL has pledged to throw it's social media machine behind the game, in addition to whatever the CWHL and NWHL do.
Here's where the time crunch and the last minute scheduling is evident. The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens practice prior to the women's game, which will be aired on NHL Network. The media availability for the teams is following the practices leaving the mainstream media in the locker rooms and not outside to cover the women's game.
If a smaller outlet is not already credentialed to cover the game - something that was organized months ago - it's highly unlikely addition credentials will be issued, even for the day. [UPDATE #2] Credentials have been granted to some women's hockey writers on Monday. GREAT NEWS in the middle of what feels like a lot of crappy news.
Moving on to the rosters:
Pride Roster (NWHL)
Canadiennes Roster (CWHL)
Pride Coaching Staff
Canadiennes Coaching Staff
Players listed above with ** next to their name are those who are from other NWHL teams replacing Pride players who will be attending USA Hockey's training camp. The NWHL selected these players as replacements because of their collegiate ties to the greater New England area.
Those joining the Pride are replacing the eight players who will be at USA Hockey's training camp for Women's Worlds: Kacey Bellamy, Brianna Decker, Alyssa Gagliardi, Zoe Hickel, Hilary Knight, Gigi Marvin, Amanda Pelkey and Jordan Smelker.
We've made it abundantly clear how we feel about the women not being released by USA Hockey to attend this event. Yet, we [begrudgingly] understand the national team having had camp planned and financial resources allocated to these players way ahead of the planning of the outdoor game. Given what we know now, having the national team players there may not have as great of an impact for the game as a whole.
Look, we get the details around the game aren't ideal, but heck, at least it's something. The two women's leagues are working together. The NHL has given them a forum to participate in a big event.
On Tuesday we'll be running an interview with the NHL's Senior Vice President of Business Affairs, Susan Cohig who has been a player in the league's involvement in women's hockey, including this game.
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