PWHL exec: Gary Bettman was first to suggest Ottawa for league

By Sportsnet staff

Not only did Gary Bettman help secure a new owner for the Ottawa Senators earlier this year, but he also played a significant role in bringing a Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) team to the nation’s capital.

PWHL board member Stan Kasten said on Tuesday the NHL commissioner was first to suggest to him that Ottawa could be a strong market.

“I will tell you this wasn’t necessarily on our opening list of cities. Gary was the first one who said ‘you ought to think about Ottawa,'” Kasten said before Ottawa’s inaugural home opener against Montreal at TD Place.

“He gave me a lot of good advice. I’m really happy I was smart enough to take his advice.”

The inaugural women’s world hockey championship in 1990 was held at the same Ottawa arena where the second game in PWHL history was played on Tuesday.

So far, so good for the league with a sellout crowd of 8,318 at the home rink of the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s — setting a record for a pro women’s hockey game.

The previous record of 7,765 was recorded for the championship game of the 2021-22 Swedish league season between Brynäs and Luleå. 

The PWHL also chose Toronto, Montreal, New York, Boston and Minnesota for the league. The Associated Press has reported Washington and London, Ont. also were considered.

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