Minnesota hockey fans set record for largest crowd to witness pro women's game
The largest crowd to watch a professional women's hockey game ever packed the Xcel Energy Center on Saturday.
Driving the news: More than 13,000 fans attended PWHL Minnesota's home opener and 3-0 win against Montreal. The X is the largest home arena in the new Professional Women's Hockey League.
- Fans in Ottawa set the previous attendance record of 8,318 just last week.
Why it matters: The attendance record is good news for the first-year league, which has ambitions to do for women's hockey what the WNBA's launch in 1996 did for women's basketball.
Of note: The PWHL is backed by some heavy hitters, including tennis legend Billie Jean King and Mark Walter, part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Flashback: In North America, other women's hockey leagues have come and gone, with players complaining about poor wages and a lack of health insurance. The PWHL wants to change that.
What happened: Excelsior native Grace Zumwinkle scored all three Minnesota goals, and dozens of lower-bowl fans tossed their headwear onto the ice to celebrate the hat trick.
💭 My thought bubble: There were at least a dozen local girls hockey teams in the stands, including a particularly vocal St. Paul contingent in the suite level. That felt like both a genius marketing move and a huge boon for the in-arena atmosphere: those kids cheered. The. Entire. Game.
What we're watching: If the record holds up. New York's PWHL club plays part-time in an NHL-sized arena, too.
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