NESN Will Broadcast Boston Pride’s Home Opener, Seven Other Games

The National Women's Hockey League is turning heads once again, nailing down its first broadcast deal.

Via YouTube

Via YouTube

The National Women’s Hockey League has struck a deal with NESN to broadcast the Boston Pride’s home opener Sunday—a 3 p.m. tilt against the New York Riveters at Harvard University’s Bright-Landry Hockey Center in Allston. It is the league’s first broadcasting agreement.

NESN, which holds the rights to Bruins and Red Sox broadcasts, will air eight Pride home games through the remainder of the NWHL’s inaugural 2015-16 season. Both home and away games will still be streamed for free on the league’s website.

“These conversations started a while ago,” NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan tells Boston magazine, “and I think that we’re fortunate enough that the Boston Pride’s first game wasn’t until later in November, so we had a little more time to iron out the details, and also prove the product.”

Rylan, a Northeastern University alum, will be in attendance Sunday night when the Pride take on the Riveters.

NESN’s broadcast team will be comprised of fellow Husky and Rylan’s longtime friend Mark Bates, who did play-by-play for the Women’s Beanpot Tournament last year, and AJ Mleczko, who represented the U.S. in the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics and provided color for NBC Sports’ Sochi coverage.

“I think the biggest thing is the on-ice product in that women’s hockey is ready for that stage. I think the Olympics in 2014 really gave women’s hockey that exposure and proved that there is broadcast value in a women’s hockey game. It is fast. It’s physical,” Rylan says. “We’re so glad to be partnered with NESN on the venture in that they also see the value in covering women’s hockey.”

The following games will be broadcast on NESN or NESNplus:

  • November 22 vs. New York Riveters, 3 p.m. (NESN)
  • November 29 vs. Connecticut Whale, 3 p.m. (NESN)
  • December 6 vs. New York Riveters, 3:30 p.m. (NESN)
  • December 20 vs. Buffalo Beauts, 3 p.m. (NESNplus)
  • January 3 vs. Buffalo Beauts, 3 p.m. (NESNplus)
  • January 10 vs. New York Riveters, 3 p.m. (NESNplus)
  • January 17 vs. Connecticut Whale, 3 p.m. (NESNplus)
  • February 14 vs. Connecticut Whale, 3 p.m. (NESNplus)

“We are excited to become the first television partner of the NWHL during its inaugural season,” Joseph Maar, NESN’s vice president of programming and production said in a release. “Some of the best women hockey players in the world will play on NESN this winter, which will make for some exciting hockey on Sunday afternoons.”

In their last meeting, the Riveters handed the Pride their first loss of the season on the back of a 42-save outing by Nana Fujimoto. Boston is second in the standings, behind the still-undefeated Connecticut Whale.

The Pride’s full schedule is available here.