The National Women’s Hockey League has announced its plans for the 2021 season, which will be played inside a bubble in Lake Placid, New York. The six teams will gather and play a shortened season between January 23 and February 5. Interim commissioner Tyler Tumminia released a statement explaining the decision:
The NWHL is excited to provide hockey fans a fast-paced schedule of thrilling games on the road to the Isobel Cup. The continued challenges brought by the pandemic resulted in a mandate for our league, players and partners to collaborate on creating a controlled environment protecting the health of everyone involved. At a time of hyper-growth for girls’ and women’s hockey, we see this season as a celebration of the sport. This will be a historic moment as the hallowed arena that was the site of the “Miracle on Ice” in 1980 hosts its first women’s professional championship. It is a proud moment for the NWHL, the players, and all hockey fans.
Though the league will not be able to play in front of fans and is compressing their season into just a few weeks, it does allow them to actually hold a 2021 campaign in these uncertain times. It will also mean that the league’s newest team, the Toronto Six, will not be delayed any further. Toronto will join the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, and Minnesota Whitecaps in the bubble.
Despite the condensed schedule, all contracted players will be paid in full for the upcoming season. The players, like those in other professional leagues this year, were also given the opportunity to opt-out without any financial ramifications.