On top of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) announcing the start date for their inaugural season, they also have revealed the six venues the teams will be playing in.
Toronto will be playing in a building familiar to Maple Leafs’ fans, as their home games will be at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. The cathedral-like structure at the corner of Church and Carlton was once known as the Maple Leaf Gardens, the home for the Leafs’ from 1931 to 1999.
“It is almost poetic that we are set to write the first chapter of our franchise’s history in one of the most historic buildings in Toronto,” said Toronto general manager Gina Kingsbur in a release on Tuesday. “It is an honour that we will call Mattamy Athletic Centre home and be under the same roof that housed the legendary Maple Leafs organization for so many years.”
The building is currently the home of Toronto Metropolitan University’s basketball and hockey teams.
The biggest building in the league, at least by capacity, will be where Minnesota is going to be housed. They will be playing inside the Xcel Energy Center, the current home of the Minnesota Wild.
“The Xcel Energy Center is a premier venue,” GM Natalie Darwitz stated in a release. “Which has the amenities to provide our players and our fans with a first-rate game experience. The enthusiasm and excitement our players and fans will bring to Xcel Energy Center will guarantee our team having a home-ice advantage!”
Ottawa will also be playing in a familiar building, as their home games will be inside TD Arena. The barn is currently the home of the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League, and was also the home of the Ottawa Senators from 1992 to 1996.
“TD Place is the go-to place for sports and entertainment in our city and we are honoured to be one of only six North American sites for the launch of the PWHL,” Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group CEO Mark Goudie said in a release. “Ottawa has seen more than their share of historic hockey games over the last century and we are proud to play a small role in the latest of those.”
The arena was the home of the first IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championships in 1990.
Boston will be housed a little outside of town. They will be playing over 30 miles north at the Tsongas Center in Lowell. The arena is also home to UMass-Lowell’s men’s and women’s NCAA hockey programs.
“We’re thrilled to have the Tsongas Center as our home arena–a great facility with an ideal seating capacity of 6,500,” said Danielle Marmer, PWHL Boston General Manager, in a release. “Our anticipation for the January 3rd home opener…is immense. That moment is the result of the league, staff, and players’ hard work to pioneer this first-of-its-kind league and showcase our talented players. I can’t wait to see you there!”
Montreal will be playing inside the Verdun Auditorium in the suburbs of the city. The rink was the former home of the Montreal Junior Hockey Club from 2008 to 2011. It also homed the Montreal Force of the now-defunct Premier Hockey Federation for a handful of games last season. It was going to be the home of Les Canadiennes of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League before it folded in 2019.
“Having the best female hockey players in the world,” Centre 21.02 director Stéphanie Poirier mentioned in a release. “Who will come battle it out and showcase their tremendous talent for the fans, will be an experience we are so eager to be a part of. It is truly a dream come true for us.”
Last, but not least, New York’s team will not be playing in New York. They will be playing at Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It is the home of the Bridgeport Islanders, the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders.
“Having the privilege to showcase our skills in front of our dedicated fans,” said Pascal Daoust, PWHL New York General Manager. “In a top-tier arena, represents an opportunity that impeccably aligns with the professional standards upheld by the PWHL.”
The 2024 season will kick off on New Year’s Day, with Toronto hosting New York.