New York’s Newest Hockey Team Has Everything but a Name and Home Ice

Professional women’s hockey has arrived, and the games have been intense…

At least in Canada. The New York team, however, struggles to fill the seats.

For the players it’s a moment of great opportunity. But first, they have to start winning.

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New York’s Newest Hockey Team Has Everything but a Name and Home Ice

Cheers thundered across a packed arena in Ottawa as fans stood and shouted support for the home team and vitriol at the visitors. “New York sucks!” they chanted. Young girls in peewee jerseys, bearded bros in Ottawa red and women holding signs with slogans like “Girls Supporting Girls” all lent voice to the mounting excitement.

For this was February in Canada, where hockey has been depicted on 5-dollar bills and all levels of the sport are revered with an almost maniacal fervor.

When Ottawa scored to break a tie with only a few minutes to play, 8,000 fans erupted, signaling their emotional investment in the brand-new Professional Women’s Hockey League.

Women’s pro hockey has a fractured history, with various leagues on four continents dividing up the talent and fans. But now, for the first time, virtually all the best players are in one place, showcasing a skillful and rugged style that has fans riveted.

“Playing here is incredible,” Jaime Bourbonnais, a New York defender, said after the game. “Ottawa is very lucky to have the fans that they do. It feels like the fans are right on top of you.”

A capacity crowd at TD Place, in Ottawa, at a Professional Women’s Hockey League game in February.Credit…Mimi d’Autremont for The New York Times

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