NWHL TO AWARD ISOBEL CUP IN MARCH 2021
Discover to Make NWHL ‘HERStory’ at Boston’s Warrior Ice Arena March 26-27
NBC Sports to Provide Exclusive U.S. Coverage on NBCSN and Streaming on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports App; Twitch to Stream International Coverage
Top-Seeded Toronto Six to Face Boston Pride; Minnesota Whitecaps Take On the Connecticut Whale in Semifinals
March 8, 2021 – (BROOKLYN, N.Y.) 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
About the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)
Established in 2015, the NWHL was the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. The mission of the league is to fuel the continued growth of the sport and brand of pro women’s hockey. The league is made up of the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, and the Toronto Six. Visit NWHL.zone and follow on Twitter and Facebook @NWHL and Instagram @NWHL.zone.
About the Isobel Cup
The Isobel Cup is the championship trophy of the National Women’s Hockey League. It takes its name from Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley’s daughter, Isobel, who shared his love of the game and is known to be one of the first female hockey players in Canada. Isobel, along with her brothers, encouraged her father to purchase a silver cup to award to the best amateur hockey team in Canada. The Stanley Cup, as it was later named, became the championship trophy of the National Hockey League.
The front of the Isobel Cup reads: "The Lady Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Cup 1875-1963. This Cup shall be awarded annually to the greatest professional women's hockey team in North America. All who pursue this Cup, pursue a dream; a dream born with Isobel, that shall never die. EST. 2016.”
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a digital banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home loans, checking and savings accounts, and certificates of deposit through its banking business. It operates the Discover Global Network comprised of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance around the world. For more information, visit www.discover.com/company.
About Warrior Ice Arena
Warrior Ice Arena, which opened in September 2016, is a state-of-the-art hockey and skating destination, is the official training and practice facility of the Boston Bruins, and is the first publicly accessible arena built in the city of Boston in the last fifty years. The NHL regulation size, single sheet arena complex hosts professional, collegiate, high school, youth, sled, and amateur level hockey and skating, along with in-house programming and public sessions. With seating for 550 spectators and an immersive hospitality suite available for corporate and institutional gatherings, Warrior Ice Arena is a sought-after location for special events of all kinds. Warrior Ice Arena features health-conscious concession stands serving healthy food options and has convenient structured parking located beneath the arena.