Photo By: Michelle Jay
With the sun already set and hockey season finally upon us, the members of the 2017-2018 Boston Pride shuffled into Warrior Ice Arena for the team’s first practice of the year. The emotions of excitement and anticipation were written on each woman’s face, as they eagerly awaited to lace up their skates to begin their preparations for the NWHL season opener later on Oct. 28 against the Metropolitan Riveters at Prudential Center, as part of the first-ever NWHL-NHL doubleheader.
For players such as Jordan Smelker, Jillian Dempsey, Alyssa Gagliardi, Lexi Bender, and Brittany Ott, putting on a Pride practice jersey seemed like an all-too familiar ritual. For 12 other players, including Dana Trivigno and Kaliya Johnson, who played for the Connecticut Whale last season, this was the first time they skated for the 2016 Isobel Cup Champions. On the bench, the scenery looked a bit different as well. Thomas Poeck, a former NHLer who was named the Pride’s new head coach earlier in the summer, watched on alongside assistant coach Lindsay Berman as each team member made its way onto the ice.
It seemed all hands were on deck from the get-go, as the team worked through a series of fast-paced drills to begin the delicate process of optimizing team chemistry and line pairings. While this moment only marked the beginning of this team’s journey to reclaim the Isobel Cup from last year’s Champions, the Buffalo Beauts, it was very apparent that the summer was far too long for these world-class athletes and they were ready to get back to work.
Poeck offered his first observations of the team after the practice. “The women came to play,” said Poeck. “They all worked extremely hard in practice today. I was impressed. We are ready to get the season going. It’s exciting and all of us can’t wait for the first game.”
The Pride square off against the Metropolitan Riveters for the NWHL’s first game of the season on October 28 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Get your tickets here!