After a successful National Women’s Hockey League All-Star Game held in the Pittsburgh area in 2017, the league will return to the region in 2018 by hosting a neutral-site, regular-season game.
The game, along with a hockey clinic, will be hosted by the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of their “NHL Youth Girls Cup” tournament to be held at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township on Jan. 14, 2018.
“After a terrific All-Star Weekend, we’re excited to have the National Women’s Hockey League back to Pittsburgh next season,” said Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse in a press release Friday.
“The Penguins are the champions of the NHL, and they continue to show that they are also dedicated champions of women’s hockey,” added NWHL Deputy Commissioner Hayley Moore. “All-Star Weekend in Pittsburgh significantly increased the footprint of the NWHL. We are delighted that the Penguins welcomed us back for more events, and are proud to be working with them again.”
The NWHL had several local connections during the 2016-17 season. Robert Morris alumna Brianne McLaughlin was the MVP of the Isobel Cup final, as she stopped 60 shots to lead her Buffalo Beauts to the title. The Beauts also featured RMU assistant Kelley Steadman and former Colonials Ashley Vesci and Morgan Beikirch.
Steadman and Amanda Kessel, sister of Penguins right winger Phil Kessel, were the captains of the 2017 NWHL All-Star game in Pittsburgh. Team Kessel won that game, 11-10. The game sold out the 1,000-seat venue.
Buffalo is one of the four teams in the NWHL, along with the Boston Pride, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters.