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When the Minnesota Whitecaps open their season on Saturday against the Boston Pride, there will be some things that are new and some that are familiar.

The new is represented in changes by their league, which has changed its name from the National Women's Hockey League to the Premier Hockey Foundation. Also new is the salary cap for each of the league's six teams — $300,000. That figure is the highest in league history.

The familiar territory involves the Whitecaps and the Pride. The Whitecaps, who have finished in the top two in each of their first three seasons in the league, and Pride are again expected to be the top teams in the league.

The Whitecaps concluded their first season in the league in 2018-19 by winning the Isobel Cup. They and the Pride reached the Isobel Cup final in March 2020, but the championship game was called off. The Pride defeated the Whitecaps for the championship following last season's abbreviated season.

"It feels like the longest offseason," Whitecaps forward Allie Thunstrom said. "We're just super excited to play a game again. We have some unfinished business from last year. Obviously we didn't win that final game and obviously really wanted to."

The Whitecaps' first four games — two this weekend in Boston and Nov. 20-21 at home — will be against the Pride.

"This is an opponent that we're going to get to know and get to know really well over the first two series of the year," Thunstrom said.

Whitecaps co-coach Ronda Engelhardt said the Whitecaps "are excited to be back on the ice. Boston is always competitive. We usually play high-scoring, back-and-forth games with them."

Besides Thunstrom, who owns the league record for goals in a season (24, set in 2019-20), there are several familiar players on the Whitecaps roster — sisters Winny Brodt-Brown and Chelsea Brodt-Rosenthal and Brooke White-Lancette.

Brodt-Brown, who in 1996 was recipient of the first Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award, said she returned because "I love being around my teammates and after last season, I didn't want my last game to be a loss."

White-Lancette returns for her 18th season with the team, which was formed in 2004.