The Boston Pride Are the NWHL’s First-Ever Isobel Cup Champions
Make room for a new piece of hardware on Titletown’s ever-expanding mantle.
The Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League are Isobel Cup champions, after sweeping the Buffalo Beauts in a three-game series in Newark, New Jersey. Team co-captain Brianna Decker was named playoff MVP after notching two goals in Game 2, while co-captain Hilary Knight, who scored the first goal in team history against the Beauts back in October, bookended the historic season with a late tally to seal the game, 3-1.
The Pride came into Saturday’s contest riding an 11-game winning streak, the longest in league history. “We just got so much better as the season went along,” goaltender Brittany Ott said. “We have a great group and I’m just so proud to be a member of the Boston Pride and win a championship here.”
— Troy Parla (@TroyParla) March 13, 2016
Pride forward Denna Laing, who suffered a severe spinal injury at the Outdoor Women’s Classic at Gillette Stadium, celebrated via FaceTime with her teammates and general manager Hayley Moore, who held a phone to the trophy so that the Marblehead native could “kiss” it.
The Isobel Cup, which had been kept hidden until just before puck drop Saturday, derives its name from Lady Isobel Gathorne-Hardy, daughter of Lord Stanley of Preston. Isobel was one of the first female hockey players in Canada, and, along with her brothers, convinced her father to donate the silver punch bowl that would become the NHL’s iconic Stanley Cup.
“We used our relationship with the Hockey Hall of Fame to conceptualize and create the Isobel Cup,” NWHL Commissioner and Northeastern University alum Dani Rylan said in a release. “The Cup itself represents the founding four teams and is inscribed with a message noting its awarding to the greatest professional women’s hockey team in North America.”
In addition to the league’s Founding Four teams etched into its base, the 15-pound Cup bears the inscription: “All who pursue this Cup, pursue a dream; a dream born with Isobel, that shall never die. EST. 2016.” The names of each winning team will be engraved onto the Cup, and after 15 years, another tier will be added to its base. Just like the Stanley Cup, each member of the Pride will get a day with the Isobel Cup. When not in use, it will reside in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
— Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) March 13, 2016
Following the game, the NWHL teased expansion into Toronto and Montreal for next season. Previously, Rylan told Boston that hockey hotbed Minnesota was being considered for Year 2.
In the meantime, we’ll just anxiously await 540 Films’ crowdfunded documentary of the NWHL’s inaugural season.