WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — Hockey fans in Tampa Bay have the chance to see some of the best women hockey players in the sport.
The entire playoffs for the six-team Premier Hockey Federation are being held at AdventHealth Center Ice. Reigning league champion Boston Pride will take on the Connecticut Whale in Tuesday’s Isobel Cup championship final.
“That’s what we’ve worked for all year,” Boston captain Jillian Dempsey said. “That’s what we have our heart set on. We’re going to go out there, win all the little battles, do all the little things. Hope everything goes our way.”
This is the first time in the league’s seven-year history that the playoffs are being played outside the league’s northeastern footprint.
Boston head coach Paul Mara is familiar with hockey in Florida. He was drafted seventh overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1997.
“It’s been enjoyable. We love Tampa,” Mara said. “Been here for five days. It’s great to have some sunshine in our lives coming from the northeast.”
“Definitely different to be down here in Florida for some playoff hockey,” Dempsey added. “We’ve been trying to soak it all in and enjoy the experience and completely focused on the game.”
A game should set a record for viewership when the puck drops at 9 p.m.
“We’re expecting the largest broadcast audience for professional women’s hockey tonight in ESPN2 in the United States,” PHF communications vice president Paul Krotz said. “It’s so exciting for what we are trying to do and it’s what the athletes deserve.”
The winner of the Isobel Cup will be honored during Tuesday’s Lightning game at Amalie Arena.