After weeks of speculation, the NWHL is officially coming to Toronto. It will be the league’s first team located north of the Canada-USA border, bringing the first professional women’s hockey team to the Greater Toronto Area since the CWHL’s Toronto Furies and Markham Thunder.
This announcement expands the NWHL to six teams, which is fitting given the league is heading into its sixth season. Toronto’s franchise also revealed its executive team leaders and five player signings.
The team is already beginning to take shape with an impressive list of members. Let’s start with the executive group, consisting of three highly experienced women with diverse backgrounds.
Johanna Neilson Boynton, Ownership
As a former player, Neilson Boynton understands the importance of young girls having role models to pursue a professional hockey career. She spent four years at Harvard University, captaining the team for two seasons.
She’s also the CEO and co-founder of Boynton Brennan Builders, highlighting her success as a businessperson. With her background in both the hockey and business worlds, Neilson Boynton is an excellent choice to lead Toronto’s ownership team.
Tyler Tumminia, Chairperson
As senior vice president of the Goldklang Group, a sports entertainment and consulting firm, Tumminia was responsible for the business operations of several minor league and college baseball teams.
Tumminia has grown up in the sports business environment her entire life, as her father was a scout for the Chicago White Sox. While her background isn’t in hockey, her experience within the sports industry is extensive.
Digit Murphy, President
The strongest hockey background belongs to Murphy, with her experience as a player and coach dating back multiple decades. She spent four years as a player with Cornell University, followed by more than 20 years as a head coach at Brown University.
Murphy eventually shifted to professional hockey, coaching the CWHL’s Boston Blades and Kunlun Red Star. Her main responsibility, for now, is hiring the team’s general manager and head coach.
Shiann Darkangelo, Forward
After winning the Isobel Cup with the Buffalo Beauts in 2017, Darkangelo played two seasons in the CWHL for the Red Star and Furies. At the international level, she won gold at the IIHF championships with the U.S. U18 team in 2011 and again with the U.S. national team in 2016.
Taylor Woods, Forward
Before spending four seasons with Cornell University, Woods won gold with the Canadian U18 team in 2012. She’s also an alumna of the CWHL, playing three seasons for the Thunder and winning the Clarkson Cup in 2018.
Kristen Barbara, Defender
Barbara also won the 2018 Clarkson Cup with Woods, as the two spent their entire CWHL careers together. The Mount Hope, Ont. native also played five seasons with York University, tallying 71 points in 120 games.
Emma Greco, Defender
The youngest player on Toronto’s current roster is from Burlington, Ontario and most recently played for the CWHL’s Furies. Greco also spent one season with the Connecticut Whale after four years at Quinnipiac University.
Elaine Chuli, Goaltender
As a teammate of Woods, Chuli won gold with the Canadian U18 team in 2012. She went on to have a successful college hockey career at the University of Connecticut, followed by two CWHL seasons with the Vanke Rays and Furies.
While the franchise hasn’t announced its name or established its branding, fans are encouraged to submit ideas. This is a historic moment for women’s hockey, with lots of more information and news to come before the 2020-21 NWHL season.
Featured photo credit: NWHL / Twitter