Largest Crowd in Women's Hockey History Watches PWHL Game at Montreal's Bell Centre

Jan 13, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; Montreal defender Madison Bizal (6) against Boston.
Jan 13, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; Montreal defender Madison Bizal (6) against Boston. / David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

Even in an era of sustained growth for women's sports around the world, 2024 has stood out.

The NCAA women's tournament rode a compelling cast of characters—led by Iowa guard Caitlin Clark—into the monoculture, and its championship outdrew the men's national title game. The NWSL is in year one of a monster new TV contract.

Because of this, the success of the Professional Women's Hockey League has flown under the radar a bit. But what encouraging success it has been.

On Saturday, 21,105 fans came out to watch Montreal lose 3–2 in overtime to Toronto at the Bell Centre in Montreal. That is the largest crowd ever to see a women's hockey game, breaking a record set Feb. 16... when the two teams played in Toronto.

Toronto forward and Wisconsin product Sarah Nurse, a 2022 Olympic gold medalist for Canada, scored two goals—including the winner 13 seconds into overtime.

Founded in 2023, the PWHL is a six-team circuit with squads in Boston, Minnesota, Montreal, New York, Ottawa and Toronto.


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Patrick Andres

PATRICK ANDRES

Patrick Andres has been a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated since 2022. Before SI, his work appeared in The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword, and Diamond Digest. Patrick has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.