NWHL franchise reportedly coming to Toronto area

The NWHL was forced to postpone the 2020 Isobel Cup Final due to COVID-19, but there has been some off-ice news. Numerous players, including Taylor Accursi of the Buffalo Beauts and Allie Thunstrom of the Minnesota Whitecaps, have signed extensions for the 2020-21 season. Now there are talks of league expansion.

With five franchises in the United States, the NWHL is reportedly looking for its sixth team to be located north of the border. According to a source of The Associated Press, the franchise will play in the Toronto area. It will be the area’s sole professional women’s hockey team, and its first since the CWHL’s Toronto Furies and Markham Thunder.

While the league has declined to comment, an official announcement is expected to come at the end of April. Margaret “Digit” Murphy is believed to be leading the franchise, with rumours suggesting she has started constructing the team’s roster. Murphy formerly coached the CWHL’s Boston Blades and Kunlun Red Star. She was once the winningest coach in NCAA Division I women’s hockey history.

Boston Pride owner Miles Arnone and the CEO and co-founder of Boynton Brennan Builders, Johanna Boynton, are among the franchise’s biggest financial supporters. Despite the PWHPA’s formation in May 2019 and a global health crisis this year, the NWHL continues to grow and expand during these uncertain times.

Featured photo credit: Andy Marlin / National Women’s Hockey League / Getty Images

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