The NWHL has announced that they are expanding for the 2018-19 season. The Minnesota Whitecaps will become the fifth team in the league. Like the other four NWHL teams, they will be owned by the league upon entering the league. This structure has been in place since the NWHL was formed in 2015. The Boston Pride, Metropolitan Riveters and Connecticut Whale are currently still owned by the league, while the Buffalo Beauts have been sold to Pegula Sports and Entertainment (the same owners as the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills).
— NWHL (@NWHL) May 15, 2018
“I am thrilled to welcome the National Women’s Hockey League to the State of Hockey,” said Minnesota state Governor Mark Dayton in a press release. The State of Hockey becomes the fourth state to join have both an NHL team and NWHL team.
“We are ecstatic to welcome Minnesota to the NWHL,” said league founder and commissioner Dani Rylan. “Minnesota is an essential part of women’s hockey in North America.”
Minnesota Whitecaps: Already a Presence in the Community
The Whitecaps were originally founded in 2004. The team was part of the Western Women’s Hockey League from its founding, until the 2010-11 season when the league dissolved. However, the Whitecaps remained in operation, playing exhibition games over the last seven years. The NWHL purchased the team from their current ownership.
The Whitecaps roster has included some notable names over the years like Julie Chu, Angela Ruggiero, Natalie Darwitz, Hannah Brandt, Kendall Coyne, Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davidson, Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Alex Rigby.
The league tested out the waters in Minnesota by hosting last years all-star game there. This proved to be a success with the Whitecaps joining the league. It will be interesting to see how they do in their first season in the league.
The Metropolitan Riveters won the 2018 Isobel Cup, and now have one more team to face if they hope to defend their championship.