The Whitecaps will never know if they would have repeated as National Women’s Hockey League champions. Friday afternoon the NWHL announced the Isobel Cup Final between them and the Boston Pride has been canceled.
The game was scheduled to be played March 13 in Boston, but the day before that date it was postponed indefinitely when the coronavirus pandemic prompted sports leagues throughout North America to end or suspend their seasons.
“We’re very disappointed for these two great teams and the fans that we came one game shy of completing our season, but this global health crisis transcends sports,” NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan said in a statement.
“It’s disappointing, but it’s understandable,’’ Whitecaps veteran defenseman and captain Winny Brodt Brown said. “At the beginning, I was hoping maybe we’d get to play it in June. As things were getting later, and things with the NHL and NFL getting pushed back, I thought, ‘Ah, this isn’t looking too good.’ ’’
The title matchup would have been between the league’s two dominant teams this season. Boston was 24-1 with a jaw-dropping plus-81 goal differential. The Pride won three of four regular-season games against Minnesota.
The Whitecaps (18-5-2) defeated the Pride 4-3 on Jan. 25 at Tria Rink and were on a 10-1 roll entering the title game.
“We have a ton of confidence,” Whitecaps goalie Amanda Leveille said after a 1-0 semifinal win over the Metropolitan Riveters. “We’re comfortable with any team we play against if we play our hockey and our game for the full 60 minutes that we can compete with anyone.”
Added Brodt Brown, “Our team was definitely peaking at the right time.’’
The NWHL plans to start the 2020-21 season in mid-November, Rylan said. The league will have six teams with an expansion franchise in Toronto.
• Defenseman Amanda Boulier, whose 21 assists ranked third in the NWHL last season, re-signed with the Whitecaps. She is a three-time league All-Star.