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PHWL New York Brings Excitement to Prudential Center

The team in its inaugural season played two games in April at Prudential Center and brought in thousands of fans to watch the PWHL in action

NEWARK, NJ (May 1, 2024): The Professional Women’s Hockey League’s New York team has played in some notable venues during its inaugural season. In late April, the club added another significant building to the list, Prudential Center. The home of the New Jersey Devils hosted two PWHL NY games, the first on Apr. 20 with the second just ten days later on Apr. 30. With each game, hockey fans in New Jersey came together to watch the new women’s hockey professional team on at an NHL arena.

“There’s been many gratifying moments through this whole process, but I think the most gratifying is the fan support,” PWHL NY Head Coach Howie Draper explained about the fans at their home games. “It’s an exciting environment … the one thing I’m learning about this area is that they really care about their teams. You feel that whether there’s a thousand people in the stands or five thousand people in the stands. That’s one of the greatest joys I’ve experienced thus far.”

The fans showed up strong for the two contests at Prudential Center. Whether it was young girls in their youth hockey jerseys or Devils fans coming to support their women’s professional team, the crowd was engaged and loud. During the game on Apr. 30, four second period goals helped the home team pick up a 4-3 win over Ottawa.

“It was so nice to get the win,” PWHL New York forward Elizabeth Giguere said post-game. “(The fans) have been wanting it for a bit. It was nice because the crowd was loud and cheering for us and we felt it in the second period, even after that. They were very loud.”

“It’s always heartwarming to see everyone supporting us,” PWHL New York forward Jade Downie-Landry shared about the game and experience. “They’re supporting the PWHL New York team but they’re also supporting women’s hockey and I think that’s amazing. The reality is we’re eliminated (from playoffs) but they’re still showing up and I think that means a lot to us. We often think about the lives we’re impacting for little girls and future generations but it’s also a big part of that is the fans that show up for us and make it happen for us.”

A building that has seen plenty of hockey since it opened in 2007, was the perfect venue to show the growth of the women’s game and inspire the next generation of women’s players in New Jersey.

“I think it’s exciting since I’ve never been to one of these games,” Christina, age 10, described. “I saw the New York team on TV play against Toronto. I’m excited, really excited.”

“I heard that it was really cool and I’m really excited to see the game,” Audrey, age 10 also shared.

There were several parents of PWHL NY players in the stands on Apr. 30, watching their daughters create history and show the next generation the path to professional hockey.

“This has been a year for women’s sports,” Maria Zafuto, mom of NY forward Olivia Zafuto, shared. “Our girls are so supportive of women’s sports and our girls have been a part of that … (the young players) can see people like (them) do what they want to do.”

“Our girls didn’t have anybody to look up to really outside the National team,” Lisa Eldridge, mother of NY forward Jessie Eldridge reflected. “Now there’s more opportunities for women.

“It is so important for the young girls to see this. If you can see it, you can be it.”

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