Earlier today, the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) announced that it is holding its upcoming season and the 2021 Isobel Cup Playoffs at the 1980 Rink-Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York, the site of the iconic 1980 “Miracle on Ice” game.
The condensed NWHL season will take place from January 23 through February 5, 2021. The competition will begin with a round-robin structure, with each team playing five games (one against each team in the league). A playoff round will then determine the four teams that advance to the semifinal round of the Isobel Cup playoffs. All games will be played without fans in attendance.
All six NWHL teams – Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, and first-year expansion club the Toronto Six – will take part.
According to the NWHL press release, “All of the professional players who signed contracts this year for the NWHL season will be compensated in full, despite the condensed game schedule. Players were given the opportunity to opt-out of the tournament and still receive their complete salaries.” In addition the NWHL notes that – at this time – over 95 percent of players have signed on for the competition.
The 2020 Isobel Cup was not awarded. The championship game between Boston and Minnesota was originally scheduled for March 13, 2020, but was postponed and then ultimately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.