The Professional Women’s Hockey League officially kicked off Jan. 2024 for its inaugural season. This is the first PWHL to unite Women’s Hockey. The Inaugural draft took place on Sept. 18, 2023. 90 players were drafted into six different teams in 15 rounds. The season will be a 24 regular game season. The teams have not been named yet, past their locations. The original six for the new league include Minnesota, Toronto, Boston, Montreal, New York and Ottawa.
Before the draft, the league had free agency for 10 days, and each team could pick three players. Sarah Nurse will play for Toronto, Hilary Knight is signed with Boston, and Marie-Phillip Poulin will play for Montreal. These three were the most watched in free agency and arguably are the most known Women’s Professional players.
The draft’s first pick was Taylor Heise, only 23 years old and having just left the University of Minnesota. Coming off of 30 goals this past season, Heise had 172 points, 96 goals, and 129 assists throughout her time with the Gophers. Heise will be staying in her home state and playing for PWHL Minnesota. Heise was anticipating to be the first-round pick when the draft was announced, and everyone else announced in the draft would go down in history as the first draft of the PWHL.
Among the 90 players in round seven, pick number 42, Tereza Vanišová was drafted. Vanišová played here at the University of Maine, and in her four seasons at Maine, Vanišová had 157 points, scored 63 goals, and 66 assists. Leaving UMaine, Vanišová headed to the Boston Pride for two seasons in the Professional Hockey Federation (PHF) and a third season with the Toronto Six. She was signed for a second season with the Toronto Six when the PHF was bought to build the PWHL. Vanišová will be playing for Montreal this upcoming season.
The process of the league coming together has been a bit messy, as the players were notified that the PHF was being bought when the media found out. People and players alike have been upset, but at the end of the day, the goal of this new league is to expand the game and unite professional women’s hockey in North America. Players like Nurse, Kendall Coyne Schofield, and many others are very excited about the league. They also wonder why it took years to make a move toward a new league. After the draft, teams will be signing 28 players to trim their team down to 23 by the season’s start. Training camps will be held in No. There are currently 168 spots still open for the league. There’s always new information about the league coming out almost every day. It’s truly a time to tune into Women’s Hockey.