Things have been a little quiet lately in the signings field. So let’s discuss something new today. We are going to list the top-five potential cities where the National Women’s Hockey League could expand to next. It will be listed from five (not likely, if ever) to one (most likely the next city).
5. Washington D.C.
This city can now say they are home the defending Stanley Cup Champions (or any defending champion for that matter). It took a lot of patience, but the Washington Capitals are finally the champions of hockey for the first time in franchise history. It is pretty far-fetched to think a team will be on their way down any time soon, but the city has come to love their Capitals. With that said, it would be interesting to see how DC would react to getting an NWHL franchise. This is most likely not going to happen for at least the next decade, if ever, but anything seems possible nowadays.
4. Chicago, Illinois
This is an original six city and definitely seems to be a more likely option than D.C., however, the league needs to see how the Whitecaps work out for a couple years. They need to make sure all of the traveling and transportation is worth putting another team out in the midwest. The schedule is crazy for Minnesota, who is pretty much spending back-to-back nights playing the same teams when they are on the road and vice versa at home. This leads them to having a lot of weeks off during the season. I would say the NWHL is at least seven years away from making it to this city.
3. Detroit, Michigan
The second original six city on this list. This is not just any city; this is “Hockeytown”. Detroit loves their hockey, but it has been a couple of years since the Red Wings were a threat in the NHL. This could be the perfect opportunity for a women’s team to come in and rekindle interest from the city, while forming a great partnership with the Red Wings. Again, the underlying issue with this location would be it is out in the midwest again. The Whitecaps experiment needs to pay off for Detroit to have a chance. If all goes well, they could be a team over the next 4-6 years.
2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
If only for just travel conveniences to the “founding four” on the east coast, Philadelphia is a very viable option. The fans take their hockey seriously, and I think the Flyers would only benefit from a partnership with the NWHL. An expansion team in Philadelphia could also create a great rivalry with nearby teams like the Riveters and Pride, similar to Devils/Flyers or Rangers/Flyers. It is affordable for all teams to travel here, and another major city on the east coast could never hurt. I could see the NWHL reaching this city in the not-too-distant future.
1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
This is a no-brainer. The NWHL has already been here twice, and is returning for a third time when the Riveters take on the Whale in December. The All-Star game was also held here as well. There is no doubt the league wants to be in this city. Metropolitan forward Amanda Kessel of course has her brother Phil playing on the Penguins. A partnership with them would help the league generate a lot of extra revenue. There are way too many reasons to get into why Pittsburgh is the best option for the NWHL’s sixth team. I will leave you with this: It is unclear how quickly the league is looking to expand, but whenever the next NWHL expansion occurs, this will be the next city. Guaranteed.