The completion of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) Isobel Cup Playoffs, presented by Discover, will take place March 26-27 at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts with four teams competing for the championship live on NBCSN. These telecasts will mark the first women’s professional hockey league championship games to air on a major national network in the U.S. The announcement was made today by NWHL Commissioner Tyler Tumminia.
The Isobel Cup Playoffs, previously scheduled in February, return with enhanced health and safety protocols and enforcement, after a short hiatus due to COVID-19 cases.
“International Women’s Day is the perfect time to promote our athletes who will have the platform to make ‘HERstory’ by finishing what they started in a safe environment,” said Tumminia. “It means a great deal to our athletes to have the opportunity to compete to lift the Isobel Cup and to be supported by partners who are committed to growing the women’s game. We extend our appreciation to the Boston Bruins, NBCSN, Twitch, and our sponsors – especially Discover – for making this possible. Hockey fans will be inspired by the skill and dedication of our athletes, but we’re all especially excited about the message this sends to the young girls and boys who will be watching.”
Earlier this season, Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) and the NWHL announced a landmark partnership making Discover the Official Credit Card of the NWHL. It is a significant step for the league which designates 50 percent of league-wide sponsorship revenue to help increase player salaries.
“When Discover committed to the NWHL, our hope was that our support would continue the rapid growth of girls in sports, the league, and the sport of hockey,” said Kate Manfred, Senior Vice President, and Chief Marketing Officer at Discover. “With the NWHL pushing forward with the Isobel Cup Playoffs, and the event being the first women’s professional hockey league games to air on a major national network in the U.S., we are already seeing a positive impact being made in women’s sports, and we look forward to seeing who will ultimately raise the Isobel Cup.”
The Isobel Cup Playoffs will be played with no fans in attendance at Warrior Ice Arena, which is home of the Boston Bruins training facility and home ice for the NWHL’s Boston Pride. Daily COVID-19 testing will be administered for all players and staff. The NWHL and Warrior Ice Arena will have strict health protocols in place, all guided by state health authorities and NWHL medical advisors. More information about protocols will be made available prior to the Isobel Cup Playoffs.
“Since 2016, Warrior Ice Arena has been the home of professionals, current, and future, who inspire and elevate performance,” says Jay Rourke, General Manager for Warrior Ice Arena. “We are honored to be chosen to host the Isobel Cup Finals on the national stage and look forward to the excitement and energy we’re accustomed to as the home-ice arena of the Boston Pride.”
On March 26, top-seeded Toronto takes on Boston in the first semifinal game at 5 p.m. EST, followed by Minnesota facing off against Connecticut. The winners compete for the Isobel Cup at 7 p.m. EST on March 27. All three games will be televised on NBCSN and streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app exclusively in the U.S., and streamed via Twitch in Canada and other international markets.
“As the home of hockey in the U.S., NBC Sports is proud to showcase the NWHL to a national audience,” said Michael Perman, Vice President, Programming, NBC Sports. “These live broadcasts on NBCSN further our commitment to showcasing the game at all levels.”
As part of NBC Sports’ exclusive coverage, On Her Turf – NBC Sports’ Female Empowerment brand – will be integrated into Isobel Cup Semifinal and Final coverage on NBCSN as well as across content on NBC Sports’ social and digital channels leading up to and during the games.
The NWHL’s sixth season has seen continued growth and popularity with fans through a 140% year-over-year increase in viewership thanks to its streaming partnership with Twitch and a 304% year-over-year increase in followers. Over the course of the 15 completed games in Lake Placid, the league saw its biggest audiences ever with a total of 1.62 million live views, 14.2 million minutes watched, and the highest audience peaking at over 32,000 concurrent viewers during the thrilling matchup between the Boston Pride and the Buffalo Beauts on January 30.
THE ISOBEL CUP PLAYOFF SCHEDULE IS AS FOLLOWS:
Friday, March 26 – Isobel Cup Semifinals
- 5 p.m. EST – No. 1 seed Toronto Six vs. No. 4 seed Boston Pride
- 8 p.m. EST – No. 2 seed Minnesota Whitecaps vs. No. 3 Connecticut Whale
Saturday, March 27 – Isobel Cup Final
- 7 p.m. EST – Winners of Semifinals; higher seed designated home team
For more information on the NWHL fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here