The New Jersey Devils have entered into a partnership with the New York Riveters of the National Women’s Hockey League. The Devils become the first NHL team to take an ownership stake in a team playing in the NWHL. The NWHL began operations in 2015 with four teams: The Boston Pride, NY Riveters, The Connecticut Whale and the Buffalo Beauts.
New Jersey Devils begin partnership with NWHL Riveters
With the partnership the Devils provide rent-free facilities for Riveters games and practices in Newark. They also agree to provide assistance with sponsorships, ticket sales and marketing for the Riveters. As a part of that marketing effort the Devils have scheduled a double header for 10/28. That is the Riveters home opener. The Riveters will play an afternoon matinee at 1:30pm. Following that the New Jersey Devils play the Arizona Coyotes at 7pm. Though this is the only double header scheduled the Devils at present, the NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan indicates that the possibility exists for more in the future.
With the partnership the Riveters will be rebrand as the Metropolitan Riveters. The red, white and blue uniform colors will also change to the red, white and black colors of the Devils uniforms.
This partnership comes at a pivotal time for the NWHL. The league has a deal to broadcast 19 regular season games via Twitter and looks to reach a broader audience. To that end the Devils commit to growing the women’s game in the metropolitan area.
NWHL founder and commissioner Rylan says the following regarding the deal: “to have an NHL franchise putting their stamp of approval on us, it’s game changing.” Rylan also believes that this partnership set the stage for expanding the league to more markets in the future saying, “We think this is ultimately going to change our trajectory significantly, and having an NHL club back our brand and the women’s game, it is going to be exciting to see the ripple effects of this deal.”
Expansion is important and desirable for the league. They hope to add two more teams. The backing of an NHL team is likely to help with that process. The league hopes that more NHL teams jump on board and support their local teams. The NWHL reported trouble paying their players during last season. Also, a great number of their star players hold down full time jobs. The NWHL will need to watch costs and partnerships such as these go a long way in that effort, with the free ice time and practice facilities.