Of the six teams in the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL,) the Boston Blades are the only American team. And the Blades' roster is comprised of some of the best women's hockey players in the world, including 10 Olympians from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
In a tumultuous 2013 for Boston area natives, beset by triumph and tragedy, the Boston Blades, the only women's professional hockey team in North America, bested its hockey brother Boston Bruins by Blades beat the two-time champion Montreal Stars 5-2, for the Canadian Women's Hockey League's highest honor, the Clarkson Cup, on Saturday, March 23.
American Kelley Steadman emerged as the hero of the 2013 Clarkson Cup. During the regular season for the Blades, Steadman competed in all 24 games and tallied 14 points on eight goals and six assists. Steadman wasn't even on the starting lineup. The Blades began with Genevieve Lacasse, Caitlin Cahow, Gigi Marvin, Kate Buesser, Meghan Duggan and Hilary Knight.
Less than a month after the Clarkson Cup, the terrorist bomb of the Boston Marathon helped teammate Cherie Hendrickson appreciate her life, including friends and family, even more.
“I was lucky enough to be running with fellow Blades player Lindsay Berman for the last five miles of the race," Hendrickson told CWHL.com. "(Berman) was able to contact my Dad almost immediately to be sure they were safe after we first heard about the bombings while we were running.”
And now, just four days after the Boston Red Sox won its third World Series in nine years, business gets underway the Blades inaugurate the 2013-14 CWHL season playing the Brampton Thunder on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the International Skating Centre of Connecticut in Simsbury, Ct.
For the first time in the league’s seven year history, select regular season games will be available for viewing live online via The Streaming Sports Network Canada.
The Montreal Stars play their first game against the Boston Blades at 7:35 p.m. ET next Saturday, Nov. 9 at Merrimack College in Andover, Mass., while the Calgary Inferno and Toronto Furies face off at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the MasterCard Centre in Etobicoke, Ont., to start their season. The Calgary Inferno also play against the Brampton Thunder while on the road, at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 10 at Century Gardens in Brampton, Ont.
In addition, select regular season games will now be available for viewing live online by The Streaming Sports Network Canada, a branch of iSi Global Webcasting. The Streaming Sports Network Canada has provided coverage in the past for the Clarkson Cup, the coveted trophy played for at the final tournament of the CWHL play-offs, and awarded annually to the team that wins the Canadian Women’s Hockey League championship.
Unlike their brother NHL players, though, the CWHL doesn't shut down during the 2014 Olympics, and many of the players will be seen in Sochi, Russa. Montreal will be losing players at all positions as forwards Meghan Agosta-Marciano, Haley Irwin and Caroline Ouellette are currently centralized with Canada’s National Women’s Team, along with defenseman Catherine Ward and goaltender Charline Labonté. Julie Chu will also be absent as she trains with the U.S. Women’s National Team.
However, "Hockey Night in Canada" resumes on November 2. Fans can watch their favorite teams face off by visiting www.CWHL.ca or www.SSNCanada.ca. One CWHL game a week will be featured live online for free. The first game to be streamed online for viewing is Calgary at Toronto, with the puck dropping at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 9.