Everything You Need to Know About the Boston Pride’s Home Opener
After a 3-1-0 road trip to start their inaugural season, the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League will make their home debut this Sunday. This, for a number of reasons, is awfully exciting.
For the uninitiated, the NWHL is the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. Its four franchises—the New York Riveters, the Buffalo Beauts, the Connecticut Whale, and the Pride—boast some of the sport’s brightest stars, many of whom comprise the U.S. national team you fell in love with during the Sochi Games last year. At the helm is Commissioner Dani Rylan, a Northeastern alum who used to sell bottled water outside Fenway Park during grad school.
“It’s actually nice that we got to have three home openers already before this one, so we feel like we’re ready,” Rylan tells Boston magazine. “I think it’s really going to be a special day and an emotional day.”
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s 3 p.m. tilt against the New York Riveters, who handed the Pride their first loss of the season last week.
The Pride will play their home games at Harvard University’s Bright-Landry Hockey Center, located at 65 North Harvard Street in Allston. The recently renovated, 3,095-seat arena is already home to the school’s men and women’s hockey programs.
Hilary Knight and Briana Decker were named the Pride’s co-captains earlier this month, and for good reason. The Wisconsin alums are cornerstones of the Pride’s offensive attack and are tied for the points lead. Knight (3-4-7) scored the first goal in franchise history, while Decker (5-2-7) notched the league’s first hat trick against the Beauts earlier this season.
The Riveters finally got their first win of the season last Sunday on the back of a 42-save effort from Japanese goaltender Nana Fujimoto. In their first meeting, the Pride spoiled New York’s own home opener at the Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn in a 7-1 win that saw half an hour of penalty minutes doled out before the final buzzer.
In contrast to the Pride’s blazing-fast offense, which has outscored opponents 18-8 through four games, New York is quickly developing a reputation for its physical play. Goals have been hard to come by for the Riveters, with not one player finding the net more than once so far this season.
Keep an eye out for Riveters defenseman Gabie Figueroa, a gifted skater out of Princeton, who tallied New York’s first-ever goal against the Pride last month.
There will be a “high-five line” prior to puck drop, in which local girls hockey players will be invited to don their jerseys and high-five each member of the Pride as their names are called.
“I think it just goes to show that the generation that is immediately impacted with the opportunity to play professional hockey, and then the next generation as well, giving them the opportunity to dream as big as they want to,” Rylan says.
Single-game tickets are available here for $20.
In Case You Can’t Make It
In case your Sunday hangover extends into the late afternoon, or otherwise can’t make it over to the Bright-Landry Center, NESN will broadcast the game live, spiffy graphic and all.
— Imry Halevi (@imryh) November 20, 2015
The NWHL’s broadcast agreement with NESN, which includes the home opener and seven other home games, is the fledgling league’s first TV deal. “These conversations started a while ago,” Rylan told Boston earlier this week, “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.”