02:00 PM EST
min - read
Tom Sychterz
02:00 PM EST
min - read

The Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) announced it would start its inaugural season in January 2024, and preparations have already begun. Here’s all you need to know.

The PWHL came into fruition after The PWHPA bought out the PHF through Billie Jean King Enterprise and the Mark Walter Group.

The league is set to play out a 24-game schedule which is expected to run from January until May 2024. The league will hopefully play out a 32-game schedule followed by two rounds of playoffs in future years according to PWHL board member, Stan Krasten.

The locations of the league’s first six teams were announced recently as; Boston, Minneapolis- St. Paul, New York City, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

While no team names or logos have been released for the teams, the jerseys of each team have been published by the PWHL. 

All jerseys display the name of the city in text in place of a logo, which has met with a sense of disappointment amongst some fans.

Each team participated in a founding draft on September 18th. Across the 15 rounds of the draft, 90 players were selected from nine different countries. 

33 of the chosen 90 players played in the PHF last season while a further two came from the Swedish Women’s Hockey League. 

A further 26 players came from NCAA programmes. Only one player came from the U-sports 2023 class; Montreal-graduate Audrey-Ann Veillette who was selected by Ottawa.

All head coaches and General Managers have also been announced for the six teams as well as all the details on their home openers. 

Here’s a look at how each individual team is shaping up for the season ahead:


Toronto will be led by GM Gina Kingsbury who was an Olympic and world championship gold-medallist as a player for Team Canada. Kingsbury has also represented Team Canada as a GM and was Vice President of hockey operations at Hockey Canada.

Toronto will host the league’s first official game against New York on the 1st of January at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, inside the renovated Maple Leaf Gardens, which seats around 3,000 fans.


Ottawa will operate their PWHL side under the GM of Michael Hirshfield, who has served as the executive director of the NHL’s coaching association for the past seven years. 

Ottawa’s head coach will be Carla MacLeod. Macleod was a two-time Olympic gold medallist for team Canada as well as an IIHF world championship as a player. 

As a coach, MacLeod has excelled, from helping the Japanese national women’s team to their first Olympics in 2012 as an assistant coach to securing the Czech national women’s team their first Olympic medal as head coach in 2022.

Ottawa will start off their PWHL timeline with an all-Canadian class against Montreal on the 2nd at the 10,000-seater arena, TD Place on the banks of the Rideau Canal.


The Boston team announced their head coach as Courtney Kessel who has served various coaching roles across Canada and Boston for the past five years. 

Kessel will be accompanied by GM, Danielle Marmer. Marmer was a player development and scouting assistant coach at the Bruins last season and the first ever female coach in the Burins’ 100-year history.

Boston will then host the first PWHL fixture in the US when they face Minnesota on the 3rd at the 7,000-seater Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell.

New York:

Pascal Daoust will be the GM for the New York PWHL team. Daoust joins from the QMJHL Val-D’Or Foreurs where he was GM since 2016. Daoust also has experience as a head coach, winning two national championships while at the University of Montreal. 

He will be paired with head coach, Howie Draper who was head coach of the University of Alberta women’s team, the Pandas, since their inception in 1997.

Two days after Boston’s home opener, New York will host Toronto at the 10,000-seater Total Mortgage Arena in Connecticut, which is also used by the Bridgeport Islanders in the AHL.

Minneapolis- St Paul:

The Minnesota side announced that Charlie Burggraf, former Bethel University men’s and women’s head coach, as their head coach for their inaugural season. Natalie Darwitz was named as Minnesota’s GM. Darwitz is a former US national team captain, three-time Olympic medallist and three-time IIHF world championships winner and Hockey hall of famer. Darwitz has been in various coaching roles since 2007 and is set to take on her first job as a GM.

Minnesota will  host the penultimate home opener against Montreal on the 6th at the Xcel Energy Center, making them the only PWHL team to share an arena with their NHL counterparts. The arena has a capacity of just over 17,000, making it the largest in the league as well.


Daniele Sauvageau will be at the helm of the Montreal team. Sauvageau led Team Canada to Olympic gold as head coach in 2002 and was a founding member of the University of Montreal women’s team. 

Kori Cheverie will work as Montreal’s head coach. Cheverie was assistant coach of Team Canada’s women’s team. She was also the first woman to be hired for a full-time coaching role in men’s U-sports hockey when she took the assistant coach job at the Ryerson Rams.

Montreal will welcome Boston to the Verdun Auditorium which looks onto Nun’s Island across the St Lawerence for the final home opener on the PWHL calendar on the 13th. The arena fits around 4,000 spectators.

Along with the team locations, rosters, head coaches and GMs, the league has also announced a bargaining deal with the PWHPA which runs through 2031. 

The deal states that the league will have an average salary of $55,000 as well as bonuses, a retirement plan and other perks.

All that’s left now for the PWHL to officially get underway is to fill the seats and get those skates on for what is shaping up to be an entertaining year in women’s hockey.

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