According to the USA Hockey 2015-2016 report, more than 73,000 women and girls played ice hockey during the year. While this is still a small percentage in a male-dominated sport, the number of women playing is steadily increasing every year. There also is an increase in the number of professional women ice hockey players. Here’s a look at some of the most popular women professional ice hockey leagues and teams in the country.
The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) was established in 2007. It comprises of four teams from Canada, two from China and one from the United States. The lone American team, the Boston Blades, plays homes games at the Walter Brown Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. The Blades won the Championship in both the 2012-2013 season and the 2014-2015 season. Other teams in the league include the Calgary Inferno, Les Canadiennes, Markham Thunder, Toronto Furies, Kunlun Red Star WIH, and Vanke Rays
The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) formed in 2015 and is the first women’s ice hockey league in the United State to hire paid athletes. The Isabel Cup, named after the daughter of Frederick Stanley, of the men’s hockey’s Stanley Cup, is given to the championship team each year. The league consists of four teams, including:
In addition to watching these games live, fans can watch NWHL games on Cheddar or YouTube. There also are plans to stream 16 season games via Twitter during the 2017-2018 season. In addition, ABC has agreed to live stream of the upcoming Isabel Cup Playoffs.
Many of the best women professional ice hockey players are on the U.S. Women’s National Team. This elite team of athletes participates annually in the IHF Women’s World Championship and the Four Nations Cup. The U.S. team has consistently placed first, second or third in every championship and cup tournament they participated in since 1990. They also participate in the Pre-Olympic every four years. Some of these games are available on YouTube.