The National Women’s Hockey League released their 2018-19 schedule and the Connecticut Whale will play six of their first seven games on the road.
However, beginning December 30, the Whale will play six of their final nine games at home at the Terry Conners Rink in Stamford.
The five-team NWHL will begin their fourth season in October with a new expansion team, the Minnesota Whitecaps joining the league. They will make their debut on Saturday, October 6 when they host the defending Isobel Cup champion Metropolitan Riveters.
Connecticut will host Buffalo in Stamford on opening weekend with a 3 p.m. start on Sunday, October 7 but will not skate on home ice in Connecticut until nearly New Year’s Eve.
There is one neutral site game this season with Connecticut hosting the Riveters and their star forward Amanda Kessel on December 2 at the state-of-the-art practice facility of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. Kessel, who won a gold medal with the United States at the 2018 Olympics, is the sister of Penguins wing Phil Kessel.
Minnesota will face Buffalo on Dec. 29 as part of a special NWHL-NHL doubleheader before the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres game at KeyBank Center in Buffalo. Terry and Kim Pegula own the Sabres and the Beauts.
“Season four shines a light on our newest market in Minnesota, and so many great new and returning players and role models to our league,” said Haley Moore, the NWHL’s deputy commissioner. “We welcome back national yeam players and have breaks to accommodate our NWHL players competing on the world stage.”
Last year, NWHL players on national teams didn’t play in the league to prepare for the 2017 Winter Olympics in February in South Korea.
Connecticut hosts Boston on December 30 and the defending NWHL champion Riveters on January 13. Minnesota comes to Connecticut for back-to-back games on January 19 and 20 in Stamford.
After the All-Star break on February 9-10, the Whale will have their final three games at home against Boston, Buffalo and Minnesota.
Each team will play 16 regular season games. The Whale, under second-year coach Ryan Equale, are looking to improve on a 3-11-2 record, a campaign that saw Connecticut set new league records for fewest wins (3) and goals (26) in a season.
Connecticut Whale 2018-19 schedule
Home games at Terry Conners Rink, Stamford
Sunday, Oct. 7: Buffalo at CONNECTICUT, 3 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 13: Connecticut at Buffalo, 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 20: Connecticut at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 18: Connecticut at Metropolitan (Newark NJ), 2 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 25: Connecticut at Metropolitan (Newark NJ), 2 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 2: Metropolitan vs. Connecticut at Pittsburgh, 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 8: Connecticut at Buffalo, 6 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 30: Boston at CONNECTICUT, 3 p.m.
Sunday, January 6: Metropolitan at CONNECTICUT, 1 p.m.
Sunday, January 13: Minnesota at CONNECTICUT, 3 p.m.
Saturday, January 19: Connecticut at Minnesota, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 20: Connecticut at Minnesota, 2 p.m.
Saturday, February 2: Connecticut at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
NWHL All-Star Weekend, February 9-10
Sunday, February 17: Boston at CONNECTICUT, 3 p.m.
Saturday, March 2: Buffalo at CONNECTICUT, 6 p.m.
Sunday, March 3: Minnesota at CONNECTICUT, 3 p.m.