Thirty of the top NCAA and professional female hockey players in the country attended the National Women’s Hockey League’s Boston Pride tryouts yesterday, with the hope that they will be the first to make the official roster and earn a paycheck for playing hockey.
The players, who ranged in age from 21 to 29, mainly hailed from or had college ties to the northeast:
Boston Pride General Manager Hayley Moore said she was looking for players that would combine to form a well-rounded team, with contributions from all players.
Moore, an alumna of Brown University, played professionally overseas in Switzerland as well as for Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL). She said she is excited to take on her role as general manager of the Boston Pride.
“I left (Switzerland) because hockey wasn’t something I could make a living doing,” she said. “…When I graduated, there weren’t these opportunities for players so I’m happy to be a part of it. I would have appreciated it. It’s a dream like any male player dreams of the NHL, and now females can dream of NWHL.”
Moore said she knows there is a place for the Boston Pride in such a jam packed but strong hockey market in the city.
“Boston is a sports city,” she said. “I think one of the greatest benefits of Boston is that hockey is so highly regarded. It’s a great fan base with college, pro teams, and youth teams so we want to give those girls something to look forward to in the future.”
Moore said nothing has been established yet in terms of a partnership with the Boston Bruins, but it would be something she would love to see.
“We are having great conversations with connections and a lot of different sources,” said Moore. “We would love to see that.”
And when it comes to getting fans into seats in the Pride’s home rink in Everett – Moore said the team will rely heavily on youth outreach.
“One of the biggest things each team will do is hosting a showcase with youth teams, and that will be a way to draw in crowds from surrounding areas and Boston,” she said. “We have a great youth foundation of hockey here.”
And although this camp was the Boston Pride’s first, it may not be the last before the season starts. Moore said she may look to hold one more to see more on-ice talent – meaning the team may sign players who were not necessarily on the ice this weekend.
Amanda Pelkey, a senior at the University of Vermont, used the tryout as an opportunity to show off her speed and skating.
“I think most of us are a little rusty,” said Pelkey. “So today was about getting the rust off.”
Pelkey, one of the youngest skaters on the ice, said it was exciting to skate next to so many women’s hockey veterans.
“It’s really exciting, it’s always fun seeing older girls and where they went to college, and when you’re a younger girl, if I were to make this roster with the veterans, you’d learn a lot every day,” she said.
Pelkey, who always had her eye on playing professional hockey after college, thought she might end up playing for the Boston Blades – until the NWHL came along.
“I’m keeping my options open,” said Pelkey. “I think (the NWHL) really spread through word of mouth, (NWHL League Commissioner) Dani (Rylan) and her crew did a great job of getting it out there. And when they presented it to us, it was like wow, this is really legit. They laid it out and it was a plan.”
And Pelkey was satisfied with getting answers to her questions, she said.
“They answered every question that you’d ever ask about a league, so that was a plus side to it,” she said.