PITTSBURGH TO HOST PHF, CONNECTICUT WHALE AND MONTREAL FORCE
The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) in association with the Connecticut Whale and the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins today announce details for a neutral site game to be played on Saturday, January 14 at 3:00 p.m. ET at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, the primary practice and training facility for the Penguins. The Whale will serve as the home team for the regular season matchup against the expansion Montreal Force, and will wear retro-inspired jerseys to honor the Pittsburgh Pennies, Pittsburgh’s professional women’s hockey team that was founded in 1972. The Sports Techie community blog encourages women and girls interested in playing hockey to find a way to make it so like Pittsburgh did for this PHF matchup. Female athletes are changing the future for all women, benefitting the PHF and their expanding fanbase.
“The PHF has a great, strong history with the NHL that we’re going to continue to strengthen with opportunities to partner with organizations like the Penguins,” said Reagan Carey, PHF Commissioner. “It’s important for the league to build on the momentum that we have generated and showcase professional women’s hockey and what we have to offer to more fans and in new communities. For NHL fans to get to know our players, and for our players to compete in different NHL markets and be part of that environment is a special experience. We’re excited to head to Pittsburgh, honor the history of past pioneers, and to showcase the PHF and these two great teams.”
“The Penguins are honored to host the Connecticut Whale and Montreal Force of the Premier Hockey Federation at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex,” said Kevin Acklin, Penguins President of Business Operations. “Showcasing these elite players in Pittsburgh is yet another opportunity for us to inspire our local girl’s hockey players and grow the sport of ice hockey, not just locally, but across the country.”
January’s game will be the fourth time that Pittsburgh and UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex has hosted the PHF in the league’s eight-year history. The second PHF All-Star Game was played there on Feb. 12, 2017, followed by neutral site events for the next two seasons. Buffalo beat Connecticut 4-3 back on Jan. 14, 2018, and the Whale won against the Metropolitan Riveters 4-0 on Dec. 2, 2018. That contest featured a trio of current Whale stars who contributed to the outcome including captain Shannon Turner who scored a goal and an assist, a goal by forward Kateřina Mrázová, and a 31-save shutout performance by Meeri Räisänen. Mrázová, who hails from Czechia, and Räisänen from Finland are both Olympians and among a record number of international players who have senior national team experience who are competing in the PHF this season.
“This is another great opportunity to showcase the growth and strength of our league to a new market,” said Alexis Moed, Whale General Manager. “The visibility of our sport is paramount to our future success and with the support of the Penguins we are thrilled to reach a new audience. By bringing professional women’s hockey to Pittsburgh, we hope to excite and inspire the next generation of hockey players and fans.”
“We are so excited to bring the PHF to Pittsburgh! Playing at a neutral site allows us to showcase our league in an amazing hockey city,” said Melissa Samoskevich, Whale forward and 2019 World Champion with the U.S. National Women’s Team. “It will be an awesome experience honoring the trailblazing Pittsburgh Pennies with the debut of the retro jerseys. Those women set a foundation for women’s hockey – it will be such a great day to celebrate and appreciate what they have done for our sport. See you soon, Pittsburgh.”
The Pennies came of age during the era of Title IX when opportunities in sports began to expand for women. One of the earliest, if not the first, organized team for girls and women in the area, the Pennies grew from five players to a roster of almost 30 in the first two years. The team traveled to Canada, Buffalo, and Philadelphia for games or sometimes played boy’s high school teams for competition. From this beginning, girl’s and women’s hockey has expanded in the region – there are now high school, club, college, and elite amateur teams training players and offering a range of opportunities in Western Pennsylvania and beyond.
“This game builds on more than a 50 year tradition in this region of girls and women creating opportunities to excel in sport,” said Anne Madarasz, the Director of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum and Chief Historian of the Heinz History Center. “When the Pennies took to the ice in the 1970s they opened a door to the women competing today, demonstrating the talent, tenacity, and spirit necessary to sustain and build the sport of competitive hockey for all. We are honored to tell this story in the Sports Museum and document the girls and women who battled for parity in the rinks and on the athletic fields in Western Pa.”
Tickets for the game are on sale now and can be purchased online. Prices are $25 for adults and $10 for groups and youth. Fans that are interested in learning more about the Pennies are encouraged to visit the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum and check out the A Great Day for Hockey exhibition that showcases the region’s rich hockey history.
Sports Techie, later in the month, the PHF 2023 All-Star Weekend happens in Toronto, the first time in Canada’s history.
Breaking down barriers is fast becoming the mode of operation for the PHF.
Thanks to the NHL’s Penguins, female and male fans alike, in or near Pennsylvania are soon to be a part of the growth too.
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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