As you may know, I am a season-ticket holder for the Boston Pride NWHL team.
Well not this year.
On November 25th, the league announced their plans for the 2020-21 season. Starting in late January, the season will begin in a bubble of sorts.
In order to avoid spreading COVID-19, the season will be kept short and localized. The teams will all travel to Lake Placid New York, to the Herb Brooks Arena – sacred home to the 1980 Winter Olympics, and the famed “Miracle On Ice” – when a team of U.S. mens amateurs defeated the best that the Soviet Union had to offer – a de-facto professional hockey team that was highly rated – (and oh yeah, the Finnish team) to win the gold medal. There, the NWHL teams will play a mini season, with each team playing 5 games – one against each other team, followed by a 3 round playoff to award the Isobel Cup.
Technically, the Isobel Cup was not awarded last season, as the dominant Boston Pride and the contending Minnesota Whitecaps were scheduled to play for the championship after winning their respective semifinal games, but the game was cancelled as COVID-19 was spreading and the league did not want to be responsible for a super-spreader event.
This season, players will be tested regularly, but there is no sign that they will truly be isolated beyond having to live in remote Lake Placid. There will be no fans allowed at the games – though presumably there will be a Twitch stream or two.
Season ticket holders have been given the option to receive a refund or to have their tickets reserved for the 2021-22 season.
It’s disappointing that the season isn’t being played normally, but at least the players get a chance to keep in shape and get paid.