The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) will hold the 2021 season over two weeks and in a bio-secure bubble in Lake Placid, New York.
The league has suffered from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen the season delayed from November 2020 until January 2021, forcing new proposals to protect the welfare of its players whilst the competition goes ahead.
The competition was expanded to six teams this year, but the revised plans will only see each team play each other once from January 23 until February 5. All of the games will be held inside of the Lake Placid bubble at the Herb Brooks Arena, where players will undergo regular testing for coronavirus.
The shortened season will still see players paid their full salaries, even for those who opted not to commit to the new season. Currently, 95 per cent of participants have chosen to take part in the tournament, providing each team with full playing roster that will allow them to compete in what will be extraordinary circumstances.
Tyler Tumminia, NWHL interim commissioner said: “The continued challenges brought by the pandemic resulted in a mandate for our league, players and partners to collaborate on creating a controlled environment protecting the health of everyone involved.
“At a time of hyper-growth for girls’ and women’s hockey, we see this season as a celebration of the sport. This will be a historic moment as the hallowed arena that was the site of the ‘Miracle on Ice’ in 1980 hosts its first women’s professional championship. It is a proud moment for the NWHL, the players, and all hockey fans.”
The new season is still awaiting a final agreement by the NWHL, the Olympic Regional Development Authority of New York and the state of New York.
Author: Jake Wilkin