With only one game to go in the 2019-20 NWHL season, the Isobel Cup final between the defending champion Minnesota Whitecaps and the Boston Pride, the NWHL today announced the final will be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The final, which was scheduled to be held in Boston on 13 March, was initially postponed the day before the scheduled final, the same day that the National Hockey League postponed their 2019-20 season. The Pride, the inaugural Isobel Cup champions in 2016, were the top seed and set to host the Whitecaps, the 2019 champions, after the Connecticut Whale and Metropolitan Riveters were dispatched in the Semifinals, respectively. Rather than continually postpone the game until further into the calendar year, today NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan confirmed the title would not be awarded.
This puts an end to a very tumultuous year in women’s hockey, whether it be the cancellation of November’s Four Nations Cup due to a player’s strike in the Swedish hockey federation, the ongoing rivalry between the ex-CWHL players in the Pro Women’s Hockey Players Association against the NWHL, or the 2020 World Championships being cancelled due to COVID-19. Hopefully once the world gets back to a sense of normalcy later in 2020, with the PWHPA set to centralize touring, the NHWL adding a Canadian franchise in Toronto, and the IIHF calendar back on track, women’s hockey will start an upward trend for universal success in 2020-21.