Today the NWHL announced it’s expansion into Canada by establishing a franchise in Toronto. The franchise will be primarily owned and operated by a trio of women: Johanna Neilson Boynton, former captain of Harvard’s women’s hockey team in the late ’80s, experienced minor league baseball franchise owner Tyler Tumminia and Margaret Murphy, who has decades worth of experience coaching at Brown University and in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
The official name of the team is yet to be determined, but starting today, fans can submit their ideas for names, colors and designs. The team also announced a roster with five new signings connected to Toronto: Kristen Barbara, Elaine Chuli, Shiann Darkangelo, Emma Greco and Taylor Woods. All five players previously played in the CWHL.
With this addition, the league has six teams, and play is scheduled to begin a little later than last year, starting mid-November. The NWHL is on year one of a three-year deal with Twitch, but is looking to execute more broadcast deals across North America in the coming seasons. Toronto’s players under contract for 2020-21 will join the pool of NWHL players receiving 50 percent of revenue from all league sponsorship and media deals. Last season, the NWHL and NWHL Players’ Association announced an agreement on a 50-50 split of revenue for players on the five teams from league-wide sponsorship and media deals. The league ended up having its best year in partnership marketing in its history.
“Launching our first team in Canada is a pivotal and proud moment for the NWHL,” league founder and commissioner Dani Rylan said in statement. “Everyone in the Toronto hockey community can be sure that this first-class team of professionals will make bold strides for the women’s game.” Rylan emphasizes her hopeful progress of the team after the Canadian Women’s Hockey League folded after 12 seasons because of financial instability last year.
These players are worth watching. Professional women’s hockey means so much to younger girls watching their role models compete at a high-level. The NWHL was unable to complete its season after postponing its championship game due to the coronavirus pandemic. Boston was scheduled to host Minnesota in the Isobel Cup Final on March 13. The game has been postponed and is expected to be played before the league opens its 2020-21 season.
To submit a team name, colors and design, click here.