Women belong in sports.
I’ll shout it form the rooftops everyday for the rest of my life if that means one day, it’ll be accepted and supported by all. Women’s hockey has exploded overnight and has become a movement that thousands across North America and beyond are getting behind.
Things will only continue to grow — as the NWHL recently announced the expansion for their sixth overall team that will call Toronto, Ontario home.
The PWHPA also recently wrapped up their Dream Gap Tour, which was a huge success from every angle. Having professionals around the globe including Olympic medalists and World Champions travel from city to city opened up a whole new window of opportunities.
If one thing has been made clear over the past year and a half, it’s that the buzz around women’s hockey is now louder than ever. With a strong hockey market, passion for the sport and drive to grow the game, it only makes sense to add a team to Philadelphia. The thought alone is exciting, but there are also a few other reasons behind the concept that make it a compelling case.
Location and where to play
Philadelphia is one of the largest sports markets in the world (not to mention, they have the best fans). Simply put — if you give them a team to root for, they’re going to welcome them with open arms.
There are many different rinks throughout Philadelphia that could become the home of this team. An obvious choice would be the Flyers Skate Zone that is located right outside of the city. This was the location for the wildly successful PWHPA Dream Gap Tour that visited Philadelphia back in February. Seating is limited — however — and with the growing numbers of fans, it might be best to look at larger locations as well.
It’s all about growing the game, right?
Official numbers for the 2019-20 NWHL season have not yet been released, but according to the league, the attendance rate from the 2018-19 season ranged from 423 attendees to 1,200 across all teams.
This brought me to the idea of the Class of 1923 Arena, otherwise known as Penn’s Ice Rink. This location can seat up to 2,600 people, is partnered with Ed Snider’s Youth Foundation and is the home for both adult leagues and multiple college teams. Aside from the Wells Fargo Center, this is one of the most notable and successful locations for hockey in the city.
Full support from Philly
Bringing it back to the Dream Gap Tour, we received a small taste of just how successful things could be within the city. With the Flyers being one of the classiest organizations in the NHL and bring on board with this concept from the jump, it only makes sense that their support would carry over here as well.
There are ample amounts of opportunities to collaborate with teams — whether it be events, special appearances, youth camps and everything in between. It’s a special moment when kids get to see their favorite athletes growing up — and being able to join forces with the women's team to allow girls to have that exact feeling — should be reason enough to follow through with it. Seeing is believing and this could be the first staple to making this the new norm for generations to come.
Naming a team
Brainstorming names would be such a fun project and a great way to market a new team coming to the area. Having a ‘mystery team’ coming to Philadelphia makes people want to get involved in the debate.
The first name that came to mind was the Liberty Belles — combining one of the most historic pieces of city history and fun play off of the word. The term “Belle” is often described as, “The most beautiful at a particular event or in a particular group.”
Another idea that could be thrown around is the Philadelphia Vixens. This concept actually came to mind because of the color scheme of a fox — being orange, white and black. I think keeping the colors in line with the Flyers could be a smart tool marketing-wise. Plus, alternative definitions of this term could be a nod to the Broad St. Bullies era with its own (and new) twist.
And of course, what’s a concept column without a little logo design?
(Image credit: NBC Sports Philadelphia)
If things did go down a historic route — red, white and blue could always be a color option as well, though orange and black is what helps hockey stand out in the city. Have you ever heard, "Orange and black," in Philadelphia and not thought of hockey? Let's keep the branding strong.
Recently, the NWHL started their three-year partnership with Twitch, a streaming site, as a way to showcase games throughout the season. Back in October 2019, they released the numbers they did from the first month full month, that had a total of 14 games. Just under 950,000 viewers tuned in total, averaging out to 67,790 viewers per game.
For reference, Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, has a maximum capacity of 69,176.
No matter which way you look at things, there's many positives to bringing professional women’s hockey to Philadelphia. The market is most definitely there and is growing at a rapid rate — it's time to start giving the people what they want.
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