Let's Play Hockey

Women's professional hockey takes center ice.

Mike Rez

2/19/20232 min read

The Minnesota Whitecaps filled the Richfield Ice Arena with their loyal and loud fans on Sunday, February 19th, as they defended home ice against the Buffalo Beauts. This was the second game of the homestand this weekend, with Buffalo snapping the Whitecaps six-game win streak the previous night.

The action was fast and furious with Minnesota controlling the puck early. The fans were treated to the Whitecaps out working the Beauts with 12 shots on goal to Buffalo's five in the first period. The Beauts scored the first goal of the game in the second period with a nice shot from Jenna Suokko. That is how the period would end with Buffalo up by one goal. In the end, the Beauts were able to hang on for a 1-0 victory with the Whitecaps having the advantage in shots, 31-26.

The arena was filled with families clad in Whitecaps sweaters and whatever youth hockey program the kids in attendance are a part of; youth hockey teams lend a hand during the game by retrieving pucks after warmups and scraping the ice of snow during breaks in the action. The Minnesota Vixen, Minnesota's women's football team, were also in attendance lending a hand in operational duties. After the second period was over we were treated to Chuck-A-Puck. For those that don't know, that is when fans at the game throw foam pucks on the ice for a chance to win a prize for getting their puck closest to center ice. The cascade of yellow foam pucks and kids screaming with excitement is the atmosphere the Whitecaps are striving for.

The Minnesota Whitecaps started their 19th season this year and have cemented their legacy in the Premier Hockey Federation by winning the Isobel cup in 2019. In July of 2022 it was announced that the Whitecaps would be moving from their home in downtown St. Paul to the Richfield Ice Arena. The main reason for the move to Richfield was that Whitecaps were able to get a private locker room and have access to a facility that was already set up to host a professional hockey team. The Minnesota Magicians used the Richfield Ice Arena as their home ice before leaving in spring of 2022. The ice arena in Richfield can hold 1500 fans and is set up for a very enjoyable viewing experience. Every seat is on top of the action and you can clearly hear the communication player-to-player, player-to-coach, and with officials. You can't help but be fully invested into the game.

The agreement between the team and the city of Richfield began this fall when the season started and provides free ice time for 15 games between October 1st and May 1st for the next three seasons. The Whitecaps also hold sole advertising rights in Rink 1 and Rink 2 and will share some of the advertising and concession revenues with the city. Richfield is excited about bringing exposure to the city as well, with the Whitecaps having a contract with ESPN.