The New Jersey Devils took the initial steps to helping promote the development and growth of women's hockey on Thursday by announcing a partnership with Metropolitan Riveters of the National Women's Hockey League through the 2019-20 season.
It marks the first time an NHL team is partnering with a NWHL franchise. The goal of the alliance is to support the growth of the NWHL and increase the development and visibility of girls' and women's hockey in New Jersey and across the metropolitan area.
The NWHL consists of four teams: the Metropolitan Riveters, Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts and Connecticut Whale.
"We've been able to witness the growth in the girls' game across all our markets since we launched [in 2015-16], and when you look at the growth of the sport it's really relying on the girls' registration to kind of carry a lot of that growth," NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan said. "I believe a lot of organizations, including the Devils, are seeing that, and for us to be able to leverage the Devils' marketing powers and engines to educate more people in the Metropolitan area that there's a professional women's team will only continue to accelerate the girls' grassroots growth of the game."
The Devils and Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, will share resources in an effort to enhance the Riveters' operations, including marketing, sales, events, game presentation and facilities. As part of the alliance, an NWHL-NHL doubleheader will be held at Prudential Center on Oct. 28, featuring the Riveters' season-opener against the Boston Pride at 1:30 p.m. ET, followed by the Devils hosting the Arizona Coyotes at 7 p.m. The Riveters will adopt the Devils' jersey colors this season.
"The Devils have been super supportive of the Riveters and everything we've done, and playing in that facility is first class," Riveters captain Ashley Johnston said. "I can't speak enough to how helpful they've already been. I think this partnership is fundamentally rooted in the crutch vision of wanting to spread women's hockey. Having the Devils committed with that is great and we want to see it grow throughout the New York City area as well."
The partnership begins this weekend during World Girls Hockey Weekend at Prudential Center when the Riveters will join 60-plus local girls youth hockey players from the Atlantic Amateur Hockey Association for the Devils' home opener against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday (2 p.m. ET; SN, MSG+, ALT, NHL.TV).