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Bruins, Boston Pride partner to grow the women’s game and create an academy for girls

The Pride (7-3-0) host the Minnesota Whitecaps at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Warrior Ice Arena.
The Pride (7-3-0) host the Minnesota Whitecaps at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Warrior Ice Arena. (Michelle Jay/NWHL)

The Bruins have partnered with the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League to help grow the women’s game in Massachusetts and New England.

The Bruins, the fourth NHL team to partner with an NWHL club, also will “assist the Pride financially,” according to a team press release.

In a Pride press release, NWHL deputy commissioner Hayley Moore thanked the Bruins for supporting the Pride’s marketing and player development efforts, and hoped to collaborate on “meaningful youth hockey initiatives.”

Notably: A girls’ learn-to-play academy, in which Pride players will help tutor female first-timers ages 4 through 10. Similar to the Bruins’ popular program launched in 2014, attendees will get equipment, fitting, and four weeks of instruction for a $100 fee.

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Registration opens Jan. 21. The program begins in March at five rinks: Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Phillips Academy Rink in Andover, Bog Ice Arena in Duxbury, Murphy Rink in South Boston, and Veterans Memorial Rink in Waltham.

The Bruins will also host their third annual Girls Hockey Day on Feb. 8 at TD Garden, with clinics and scrimmages for girls and women of all ages.

Katie Burt and the Pride are tied atop the NWHL standings.
Katie Burt and the Pride are tied atop the NWHL standings.(Michelle Jay/NWHL)

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us, and we appreciate the support from the Bruins,” Pride goaltender and former BC standout Katie Burt said in a release. “We look forward to working with them on great programs for the betterment of hockey across the region.”

The Pride (7-3-0), who were at TD Garden for Thursday’s Bruins-Capitals game to promote the partnership, host the Minnesota Whitecaps at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Warrior Ice Arena. General admission tickets are $20 and available at NWHL.zone/tickets. The first 500 fans in attendance receive a beanie with Bruins and Pride logos on it.

The Pride and Whitecaps are tied atop the five-team NWHL in points (14). The Pride, with leading scorer Haley Skarupa (11 points in nine games) and top goal scorer Jillian Dempsey (six in 10 games), lead the league in goals (36, a league-high 18 of them in third periods) and are second in goals allowed (23).

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The NWHL, in its fourth season, has seen other alliances, beginning with the New Jersey Devils last year linking with the Newark-based Metropolitan Riveters. The Buffalo Sabres acquired the Buffalo Beauts last fall. The Minnesota Wild signed a deal with the expansion Whitecaps before this season. During its All-Star Weekends, the NWHL said it also has worked jointly with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2017), Wild (2018), and Nashville Predators (2019).

Women’s hockey represents a small but growing portion of USA Hockey’s membership. Of the 562,145 players the organization registered in 2017-18, about 14 percent (79,355) were women and girls.

The organization reported a 4.65 percent uptick in women’s registration from the previous year.

Of all women — 76.8 percent of whom were age 18 or younger — USA Hockey saw growth at all age levels, especially those in prime learn-to-play ages: Registration for girls 10 and under was up 9.26 percent from 2016-17.


Follow Matt Porter on Twitter at @mattyports