Buffalo Beauts Become Second NWHL Team Acquired by NHL Club
The Buffalo Beauts have become the second National Women’s Hockey League franchise to form a partnership with a National Hockey League club on Thursday.
Devils & Riveters form Partnership
Prior to the start of the 2017-2018 NWHL season this fall, the New Jersey Devils and New York Riveters formed an alliance. This kick started a re-branding of the NWHL club, seeing them take on the new name, “The Metropolitan Riveters,” and changing their uniform colors to the Devils’ primary colors of red and black. The two clubs also played an iconic NHL/NWHL doubleheader on October 28, which was the first of it’s kind for both leagues.
Sabres Owners Terry & Kim Pegula Growing the Game
The Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, announced that they had purchased the Beauts on December 21 as part of their efforts towards advancing the game of hockey on all levels. The Pegulas bought the Sabres in 2011 and opened HarborCenter three years later in 2014. HarborCenter is the practice facility of the Sabres and has served as the home rink of the Beauts since the inaugural season in 2015.
The Pegulas have helped to spearhead the game since acquiring the NHL club, by expanding the Buffalo Junior Sabres youth hockey program, as well as providing many opportunities for high school and college programs in the Western New York area. They have also shown an important interest in expanding the knowledge of women’s hockey, by hosting College Hockey America’s women’s tournament.
Kim Pegula said, “We want to contribute to the growth of women’s hockey. HarborCenter has allowed us to make a positive impact on the game at the amateur, high school and collegiate levels, and we believe this is the perfect time to expand our reach to include women’s professional hockey through the NWHL. This sport provides outstanding opportunities, and we are committed to helping extend those opportunities to females of all ages.”
In addition to Pegula’s statement, NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan also spoke out about what this means for the league:
“The extraordinary commitment from Kim and Terry Pegula, a complete acquisition of one of our Founding Four teams by NHL owners, is a landmark moment for the NWHL, our players and fans, and women’s hockey. We thank Kim and Terry for believing in the Beauts and in the mission of our league to fuel the continued growth of our sport around the world. Supporters of women’s hockey should take enormous pride in this significant step for our game.” Rylan said.
Hockey House & HarborCenter Have Hosted Huge NWHL Games
The Beauts and Riveters along with the Connecticut Whale and Boston Pride are the NWHL’s “Founding Four” franchises. In March of 2016, the Beauts went to the inaugural Isobel Cup Final, played at the RWJ Barnabas Health Hockey House in Newark, New Jersey where they fell to the Pride. This past season, the Beauts got their revenge and upset the Pride in the 2017 Isobel Cup Final, at Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts.
HarborCenter was also the host venue of the NWHL’s first All-Star Game in 2016. In another attempt for the NHL to assist in growing the game of women’s hockey, the Pittsburgh Penguins showed their support for the league by hosting the 2017 NWHL All-Star Weekend.
Season Continues in January
The NWHL are currently on their holiday break, and will return to the action right after the New Year. They’ll be starting off with the second place Beauts (3-4) hosting the Pride at HarborCenter on Saturday January 6, 2018 at 1:30 pm.
The 7-0 Riveters will welcome the Whale to the RWJ Barnabas Health Hockey House at 3:00 pm on Sunday January 7.
In addition to an All-Star Game which will be played at a to be announced location, the NWHL will take on Team USA in two games at the United States National Team’s training complex, Florida Hospital Center Ice, in Wesley Chapel, Florida on January 13 and 15. The Whale will also battle the South Korean National Team on December 30 in a free admission game at Yale University.