The PWHL exceeded all expectations for attendance and ticket sales, but league officials recognize there is still room to grow and plan to do even better in year two.

“We learn from every ticket we well, and we learn from every ticket we don’t sell,” PWHL advisory board member Stan Kasten said during a press conference on Friday. “So, whatever the lessons are in any given market, that on certain nights we didn’t do what we wanted, we’re going to sit down and try to understand what we need to do better to make it a better event or to make coming to a game more appealing.

“It’s a whole host of things, not one magic bullet (…) you have to think about everything. You have to think about the venue and the fans and the date and the prices and access and all of that stuff. I thought we did great for having like four months to make it work. But now, with a little more time, we’re gonna be able to do better.”

Kasten said that at the conclusion of the PWHL inaugural season, the league will examine every city and venue teams are currently in and see where venues can be improved.

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“The ideal venue situation is to play in the biggest NHL venue in every city and merit playing there,” Kasten said. “We’re not always there yet in every market. But in big markets, the big venues are there because there are a lot of events and a lot of teams in those cities, and that gets into availabilities.

“We don’t want to be in a big venue but having to play on a Tuesday morning. We want to play on weekend nights or nights in general.”

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The original six PWHL franchises found it difficult to schedule games and venues, and Kasten believes it will become more complicated as the league grows.

The PWHL will add six more games for each franchise in the upcoming season, increasing from 24 contests to 30. However, there is no plan to change the playoff format in season two.

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“This is a little bit like getting asked about expansion three months in,” senior vice president of hockey operations Jayne Hefford said during the press conference on Friday. “A great question. I would love to see a best-of-seven series. (…) But, I think we’re really excited about the format we have now.”

Hefford continued: “This is new for women’s hockey. Even the best players in the world who have won multiple Olympic gold medals have not played in a best-of-five series. I think we’re seeing it’s challenging. There’s a lot of travel. There’s fatigue. The volume that they’re experiencing is huge. (…) Somewhere along the line, I can see us maybe expanding, but again, in year one, I think the two best-of-five series have been a really great format for us.”

PWHL Minnesota leads PWHL Boston 2-1 in the Walter Cup Final, with the chance to capture the first-ever championship in league history on Sunday night. PWHL Boston is prepared to fight for its season and force Game 5.

Featured image via PWHL