There’s been another development on the roller coaster that is women’s hockey as of late.
The New Jersey Devils are dissolving their relationship with the Metropolitan Riveters of the NWHL, just over a week after the Pegula family relinquished control of the Buffalo Beauts back to the league.
The NJ Devils are dissolving their marketing partnership w/ NWHL’s Metropolitan Riveters. Devils will reallocate resources & offer ice time to girl’s and women’s hockey in the area.
The Riveters will remain, but must find a new place to play. No more games at Hockey House or Pru
— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) May 17, 2019
Buffalo Beauts Hockey LLC and the NWHL have reached an agreement to turn operational control of the Beauts back to the league. pic.twitter.com/YYe5LgE521
— Pegula Sports & Entertainment (@PegulaSE) May 8, 2019
Money and financial assistance are essential parts of each of these relationships, but not the only aspect that will be void in the upcoming season. The Pegulas own the Buffalo Sabres, the Buffalo Bills, and the HarborCenter, which was the Beauts’ home rink, meaning they will either need to relocate or negotiate facility fees with the Pegulas. Additional costs such as team salaries and travel costs will now become the league’s responsibility, which can add additional hundreds of thousands of unexpected dollars to the NWHL’s upcoming season.
The Riveters played their home games rent free at the Barnabas Health Hockey House, the Devils' training facility. Now another NWHL team will be in search of a new home rink. The Devils were the first NHL team to partner with an NWHL team in 2017, providing the club assistance with marketing, promoting, ticket sales, and selling Riveters merchandise at the Prudential Center, where the Riveters played their home opener this year.
The NWHL was already on thin ice after 200+ of the world’s top players announced collectively on May 2 that they would not play in any professional league in the upcoming season. As one of these players who took a stance #ForTheGame, I truly believe this movement is the way to create real sustainable change for the future of professional women’s hockey, not just for myself, but for generations to come.
— Ailish Forfar (@ailishforfar) May 2, 2019
As of now the NWHL still has plans to continue its upcoming season. This would look incredibly different without the vast majority of USA Hockey and Canadian National Team players on the ice, without the Pegula family’s major financial backing, and without an NHL partnership with the Devils.
Take my word for it, there’s more to come for the future of women’s hockey this offseason.
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