clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Women's Outdoor Classic: 3 things we learned in the Pride, Les Canadiennes 1-1 tie

Everyone wins when women's hockey gets a venue like it got today.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

It's only fitting that after the ongoing and continued struggles of having two professional women's hockey leagues in the world, this exhibition game between the NWHL and CWHL would end in a tie. The first outdoor interleague match between the Boston Pride of the NWHL and Les Canadiennes of Montreal in the CWHL -- fueling the rivalry between the two cities even further on Winter Classic weekend -- came with much excitement for the sport, and much disappointment in the way the game was treated.

Periscopes had to make due instead of legitimate online streaming, NHL Network played reruns of earlier live practices that were shot using cameras already set up inside Gillette Stadium, and a shorter, watered down version of a game with two 15-minute halves and a running clock greeted the fans who showed up in a time slot just hours before the Alumni Game of the Winter Classic. It was the best the NHL and the two women's leagues could come up with in such a short period of time, but at times it felt like it overshadowed the entire event in what should have been a celebration of women's hockey.

That was, until Blake Bolden of the Pride tied the game for Boston with just over three minutes remaining in the game to put all narratives to shame in the most fitting end this game could have seen. And the rest of the match was no joke either, as far as I could tell from a grainy Periscope -- those ladies flew out there. Montreal gained the advantage nine minutes into the first half on Kim Deschenes' two-on-one goal that opened the game, but Boston never sat back on their heels as they gave as good as they got with Les Canadiennes.

There's a lot to unpack with this game, but here are three things we learned in what turned out to be quite the event for women's hockey.

1. Injury to Boston's Denna Laing a sour note

With the unpredictability of outdoor games, injuries are more commonplace with so many -- if you forgive the pun -- outside factors to account for. Just ask Sidney Crosby. Near the end of the first half, Pride forward Denna Laing fell into the end boards behind the Canadiennes' net and stayed down immobile on the ice. A stretcher was brought out and an ambulance was seen in the tunnels to take Laing, where she was transported to a local hospital under much concern.

There's no clear replay as to how Laing was injured, whether she fell on her own or a wayward hit knocked her down. Regardless, it was a scary situation to see play out over what felt close to 10 minutes as trainers and coaches came out to assist. There are no further updates on Laing's condition since the end of the game outside of a statement from the NWHL.

2. Solid crowd for a last-minute event

There are no official numbers, and there might not ever be due to the way these events work, but there seemed to be a decent number of people filling the stands and the concourse area of Gillette Stadium. For a game that was put together and announced just days ago, with ticket information given at the start of the week, my -- admittedly horrible -- guessing skills say there were at least a few thousand people in attendance. I could hear loud "Let's go Pride!" chants and more than a few cheers from the Canadiennes crowd, so despite the large and intimidating size of the football stadium, the crowd was more than into it as the game went on.

3. Strong social media day for everyone except the NHL

The camaraderie on my timeline throughout the day leading up to the game through the match itself was unparalleled by all. The many women's -- and a few men's -- writers covering the game gave constant updates all day. The NWHL and CWHL Twitter accounts -- and their respective teams -- pushed videos and pictures throughout the game, from the stands and on the ice. Plus, more than a few Periscope feeds popped around, with one holding over 200 people at the height of the match.

Mostly silent today? The NHL, who at the time of this writing tweeted once when the doors opened at 1:30 p.m. for the match then retweeted Scotia Hockey Club -- a sponsor -- twice after the game had ended. On a day when the league was facing criticism for their handling of the game, their social media presence was sorely missed in an issue that will probably not be forgotten despite the seemingly positive takeaways from many -- including yours truly.