It's been a while (nearly a month) since Elliotte Friedman first broke the news that the CWHL and NWHL would play a game in advance of the Winter Classic. As December went by without an announcement, it seemed like the game wouldn't happen at all.
Yesterday, with just three days notice, the leagues involved announced that a truncated exhibition game between Les Canadiennes and the Boston Pride (with a roster supplemented by other NWHL players) would happen. The game won't be broadcast or streamed at all (the NHL network will, instead, be broadcasting the Canadiens' practice), possibly because the leagues went down to the wire before agreeing to the details of the game.
It seems, at least from the outside looking in, that internal politicking (or "red tape," as Patrick Burke put it) may have jeopardized the game itself. Regardless of which parties caused the delay, the fact that the leagues cut it this close means that no one outside of the fans in the stands will be able to watch.
I originally set out to questioning all three leagues' role in the way that this event will happen and I may still write that piece, but you know what? I think it's really, really cool that two professional women's hockey leagues will be sending teams to play an outdoor game at Gillette Stadium as part of the Winter Classic. I don't want to lose sight of that. I just want to take a bit of time to bask in how awesome this is. The players (and people affiliated with either league) think that it's pretty cool, too.
There is going to be professional women’s hockey at the Winter Classic. I am so thrilled I don’t have words just hand flapping.— Sasky Stewart (@saskystewart) December 28, 2015
Unreal. Playing in the Winter Classic https://t.co/tui6WQF3ed— Jillian Dempsey (@JilliantDempsey) December 28, 2015
We are blessed also time for yet another Pickett highlight reel goal! https://t.co/CZQ0UhK8cL— Rachel Llanes (@RachLlanes11) December 28, 2015
Since this is a Leafs blog, I should mention that it's as close to a sure thing as possible that the Leafs will host the Winter Classic in their centennial year -- or at least play in it. Fingers crossed that the two GTA CWHL teams get to participate in that one (the Leafs are affiliated with the Toronto Furies, after all). If the Leafs play the Rangers, maybe the Furies can play the NWHL's New York Riveters.