Boston Pride and MVP Jillian Dempsey Win Second Isobel Cup in National Women Hockey League

Marilyn Regan Photo by John McArthur on Unsplash

Winthrop has another champion hockey captain to brag about and a woman no less, so move over Mike Eurzione. 

Her name is Jillian Dempsey. 

She is a fifth-grade teacher at Cummings Elementary School, Captain of the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), the league’s all-time leading scorer, co-MVP of the 2019–20 season, and the only player to have won both cups. 

She played for Harvard University with 148 points in 129 games, making her the ninth all-time highest scorer in the program’s history. 

This woman is an outstanding athlete, yet until yesterday, I didn’t know about her, Boston Pride, or the National Women’s Hockey League. 

It’s not exactly a secret, but it’s certainly not common knowledge.

Not surprising, is the fact that women make only a fraction of what men at the same level make and therefore require a second income. 

Why haven't we heard about this team?

In the word of all words, money. They don't have it.

Billions go into hockey, but not for women. 

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), which went belly up on May 1st, operated as a non-profit and managed to pay its players between $2K and $10K.

This leaves the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) as the only professional women’s hockey league in North America. It pays players a minimum of $2,500 a year, out of which they must buy their own airline tickets to games. On the high end, some players make up to $8k a year.

The National Hockey League (NHL) upped its contribution from $50K to $100K when the CWHL folded. And I don’t mean per team. The NHL is not strapped for cash with a revenue of $4.86 billion, and the average value of a team is $630 million.

In response, several Professional Women’s Hockey Player Association (PWHA) members refused to play until they can make a salary they can live off of. 

Women in Sports

The NWHL was founded in 2015 with four teams. And yes, like the Bruins, the Pride was one of the first four, so it is a young organization.

Sometimes you have to fight like a girl to get the notoriety you deserve.

Billie Jean King did this when she accepted a challenge from Bobby Riggs and participated in what was dubbed the “Battle of the Sexes.” She beat him in straight sets, 6–4, 6–3, 6–3.

In terms of empowering women, no other event has gained women athletes greater respect and recognition and is credited with empowering women to advocate for equal pay in the workforce.

True, sports like tennis and figure skating attract more women than men, but if hockey is supposed to be for everyone, then all women’s hockey teams should at least be given a fighting chance to make it.

Like Billie Jean King’s epic match, women’s hockey needs an audience.

How about scheduling games in big venues when men’s teams are on hiatus and televising them? If there’s a fan base, then the women will earn their keep the same as the men. It will take time.

But women need a fighting chance.

The NHL certainly didn’t have the money to pay the salaries they do today, and now women are here demanding a piece of the pie. But like anything else in history, like the right to vote, women are going to have to fight for it.

And what better group to fight than women hockey players?

Jillian Dempsey, you go, girl. Never give up the fight. Keep living your dream. 

You are an inspiration to all girls and women in your hometown. 


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Marilyn is a writer, yogi, spiritual medium and animal lover. She is a Bostonian in every sense and has the accent to prove it. She loves the ocean, the outdoors, wine, and sleeping in. She days what she means and doesn't waste words. Finally, she is mother to one son, two cats and has three grandchildren.


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