The National Women's Hockey League said Tuesday it bought the Minnesota Whitecaps, making it the fifth team to join the league since its founding three years ago.
The league plans to kick off its fourth season in October and will likely play a 16-game schedule through March with eight home games. The team hasn't announced a home ice yet but are looking at the Tria center in downtown St. Paul, where the Wild currently have a practice rink, said NWHL spokesperson Chris Botta.
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The new team will be initially owned by the league, like the founding four teams — Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, and Metropolitan Riveters — when the league started.
"Minnesota is an essential part of women's hockey in North America," league founder and commissioner Dani Rylan said in a statement. "When you consider all of the talented players in this area and the passion this community has for the game, the Whitecaps are going to be incredible on and off the ice."
The Whitecaps, which previously operated as an independent team, started skating in 2004. The team's alumni include Natalie Darwitz, Olympic gold medal Team USA member Hannah Brandt, Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davidson and others with Minnesota ties.
"The state of Minnesota produces many outstanding players, so it's awesome that those players can now compete professionally," Gigi Marvin, a Warroad, Minn., native who plays for the Boston Pride, said in a statement.