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Report: New Jersey Devils dissolving partnership with Metropolitan Riveters

SB Nation logo SB Nation 5/17/2019 Mike Murphy
a group of people walking in the snow © Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Devils were the first NHL team to partner with an NWHL team

ESPN’s Emily Kaplan is reporting that the NHL’s New Jersey Devils are dissolving their partnership with the Metropolitan Riveters and the NWHL.

For the past three seasons, the Riveters have played their home games and held events at the Devils’ practice rink; the Barnabas Health Hockey House. It now appears that the Riveters’ days in Newark have come to an end.

The Riveters and Devils entered into a three-year partnership on Oct. 4, 2017. The alliance between the two franchises was the first partnership between an NHL and NWHL franchise. For the past two seasons the Devils have helped the Riveters with marketing, promotion, ticket sales, courting sponsors, and have also hosted two regular season NWHL games at the Prudential Center. Last season, Riveters merchandise was also available at the pro shop in the Barnabas Health Hockey House which is adjacent and connected to the Prudential center.

One of the terms of that partnership was that the Riveters could play their games and practice at the Barnabas Health Hockey House rent-free. The Riveters will now be seeking a new home rink for the second time on the verge of their fifth season in the league. During the league’s inaugural season, the Riveters called the Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn home.

Kaplan provided a statement from the Devils in her ESPN story that suggests that the Devils ended their partnership because of the #ForTheGame movement:

“Recognizing the current landscape, we believe the best way to support the future of women’s hockey is by reallocating our resources to focus strategically on grassroots initiatives that positively impact female youth hockey players in our area,” the Devils said in a statement Friday, “while leveraging our resources to help train, support and develop women’s hockey players competing at the highest levels.”

With the partnership between the Riveters and the Devils and the Beauts and Sabres dissolved, the only existing partnerships remaining are those between the Boston Pride and the Boston Bruins and the Minnesota Whitecaps and the Minnesota Wild.

The league still plans to play hockey in the fall despite over 200 players pledging that they will not play pro hockey in North America and Pegula Sports and Entertainment ending its relationship with the NWHL. On Wednesday night, The Ice Garden learned that 15 players had entered into contract talks with the five teams that played in the league last season.

The Ice Garden has reached out to the NWHL for comment.

We will provide more details on this story and other related stories when they become available.

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