Sometimes an extraordinary occurrence merits a unique honor.
This is the case of the NWHL in its first season in Minnesota, where the Whitecaps sold out every game.
As a result, instead of honoring a VEDA Player of the Week, the league has decided to name the Fans of the Minnesota Whitecaps the VEDA Stars of the Week.
“The support we’ve had this season has been nothing short of amazing,” said Whitecaps forward Allie Thunstrom, who had a goal in each game of the team’s weekend sweep of Connecticut. “To be able to play in front of a sold-out crowd for every home game this year has been an absolute dream come true. It’s what you dream about as a kid, wanting to play professional hockey in front of hundreds of screaming fans. Our fans have provided that and so much more this season. They give us so much energy and the atmosphere in our rink is second to none. It’s always rocking in there. It’s been such a pleasure getting to know them and an honor getting to play in front of them. If anyone ever wondered why Minnesota is considered the State of Hockey, this is it. These are the best fans in the country.”
This historic inaugural season of the Whitecaps is a credit to all of the players, led by captain Winny Brodt Brown. The Whitecaps players are not only elite athletes, but incredible role models. They are deeply involved in youth hockey programs at all levels.
PHOTO BY TOM MORRIS
The smash success of the Whitecaps is also a credit to co-head coaches Ronda Curtin Englehardt and Jack Brodt, along with assistant coach Laura Slominski, and to the team staff, led by Marley McMillan, and to the volunteers. The NWHL also would like to acknowledge the staff at TRIA Rink and the promotional efforts of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.
And then there are the fans.
“To have all eight home games sell out in our inaugural NWHL season says everything about the support for the Whitecaps and, perhaps more significantly, women’s hockey in Minnesota,” said Whitecaps defender Amanda Boulier, who scored the opening goal in the team’s victory at TRIA Rink on Sunday. “The ‘State of Hockey’ is clearly a well-deserved moniker and we are all extremely honored to be a part of it. If this season is any indication, the future is bright.”
Eight regular season home games, eight capacity crowds. In most cases, games were sold out days in advance. Make no mistake: this is a remarkable achievement in professional sports by any measure.
And the possibility remains that Minnesota fans have not seen the last of the Whitecaps this season in Saint Paul. In March, there could be an Isobel Cup Playoff game, and perhaps two, at TRIA Rink.
To the fans of the Minnesota Whitecaps, congratulations. For packing the arena all season, you are the very deserving VEDA NWHL Stars of the Week.