Professional Women's Hockey League

PWHL releases full 72-game schedule ahead of inaugural season

The PWHL's inaugural regular season will run from January to early May, with each team playing 24 games.

11 players placed on waivers this week; rosters must be finalized by Dec. 11

A male hockey coach in a black track suit, with Toronto written in blue, speaks to several female hockey players who are wearing white and black jerseys.
The PWHL's inaugural season will include 72 games, beginning with PWHL Toronto, pictured during training camp, taking on PWHL New York on New Year's day. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)

The Professional Women's Hockey League (PWHL) will play 72 games in its inaugural regular season, with the first game on New Year's day and the last one scheduled for May 5.

The full schedule, released on Thursday, includes 24 games for each of the league's six teams. Each team will play head-to-head at least four times, including twice at home and twice on the road.

The league will break for international play in February, which includes three Rivalry Series games between Canada and the United States, and in April when the Women's World Championship will be held.

Notably, games will be played throughout the week, a departure from previous women's hockey leagues, where games were often held on weekends because many players worked second jobs.

"Our inaugural season schedule features games being played at exceptional venues, at a variety of times, across all seven days of the week — offering multiple options for our fans," PWHL advisory board member Stan Kasten said in a statement.

Key dates and playoffs

The season will kick off on Jan. 1, with Toronto and New York playing the first-ever PWHL game at Mattamy Athletic Centre at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Ottawa will play its first game a day later, hosting Montreal at TD Place at 7 p.m. ET. Montreal is set to hold its home opener on Jan. 13 at 3:30 pm ET at Verdun Auditorium.

Each team will play 12 games at home and 12 on the road, but not all home games will happen in the team's primary venue.

A female hockey coach blows a whistle on the ice, where she stands between three players. Two players are wearing white jerseys and one player is wearing a black jersey, all with PWHL written on them.
The PWHL Montreal team, pictured during training camp, is set to play four games at Place Bell in Laval, which is home to the American Hockey League's Laval Rocket. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Montreal will play seven of its 12 home games at its primary rink, Verdun Auditorium, and another four games at Place Bell, the 10,000-seat arena in Laval that is home to the American Hockey League's Laval Rocket.

The league announced New York's primary venue as Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, Conn., but the team is only scheduled to play five games there. New York will also play four games at UBS Arena in Belmont, N.Y., home to the NHL's New York Islanders.

Six games throughout the league have a venue listed as to be determined. Kasten has hinted teams could play "neutral site" games in NHL arenas or in cities without NHL teams.

The only teams set to play their entire home schedules in their primary venues are Toronto, which will play at Mattamy Athletic Centre downtown, and Ottawa, which will call TD Place home.

PWHL players are set to take part in a 3-on-3 showcase during NHL All-Star weekend in Toronto in February. That weekend will also include a PWHL game between Toronto and Minnesota at Mattamy Athletic Centre at 12 p.m. ET on Feb. 3.

Playoffs will begin the week of May 6.

Season tickets will go on sale the week of Dec. 4, though fans who placed season ticket deposits with the league were granted early access. Single-game and group tickets will be available "in the coming weeks."

11 players on waivers 

Training camps began earlier this month and will continue into December, when all six teams head to Utica, N.Y., for a pre-season evaluation camp that will include scrimmages.

It will be the last opportunity for coaches and general managers to evaluate players ahead of the Dec. 11 deadline to finalize rosters.

Teams announced their first cuts on Thursday, with 11 players placed on waivers and now eligible to be offered a contract by any other team. The league's first waiver period runs through Dec. 2.

A woman is seen standing up as she speaks in a lockeroom.
PWHL GMs, including Toronto's Gina Kingsbury, will need to finalize their rosters by Dec. 11. (Arianne Bergeron/Hockey Canada Images)

In Montreal, where five goaltenders have been competing for what will likely be three spots, two goaltenders have been placed on waivers: Marie-Soleil Deschênes, who played with the PHF's Montreal Force last season, and Czech national team netminder Blanka Škodová.

Three other goalies are also on waivers: Lindsay Browning (Boston), Samantha Ridgewell (Ottawa) and Kassidy Sauvé (New York).

Another 14 players are no longer listed on training camp rosters but aren't eligible for waivers. That list includes several players who did not report to camp, including former Toronto Six defender Saroya Tinker, who announced her retirement from hockey earlier this month.

A player can also be waiver ineligible if they've turned down a contract from the team that invited them to training camp, left camp without being released or were granted a compassionate circumstances waiver to play in a certain market but the team has released them.

Each team now has 27 players left on their training camp rosters, but will need to make another round of cuts before the season begins. Final rosters must include 23 players signed to contracts plus two reserve players.

A second waiver window will open from Dec. 8 through 10, before the roster deadline on Dec. 11.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karissa Donkin is a journalist in CBC's Atlantic investigative unit. You can reach her at karissa.donkin@cbc.ca.

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