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For the first time in its history, the Women’s Beanpot will be contested in an NHL arena. On March 21, the TD Garden announced that the 45th Dunkin’ Women’s Beanpot Championship will be played at TD Garden, home of the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics, on Jan. 23, 2024. Additionally, the NESN will broadcast the two games throughout the New England region.
In her remarks from the announcement, the President of TD Garden, Amy Latimer, emphasized the effects of the decision on players and the growth of women’s hockey overall.
“We are thrilled to announce that TD Garden will be the proud home of The Dunkin’ Women’s Beanpot Championship in 2024,” Latimer said. “As a former collegiate athlete, a fan, and an executive in the sports industry, I am so excited for aspiring female hockey players, the current student-athletes, and the fans, to have this unforgettable experience. TD Garden and The Beanpot are amazing platforms to showcase the talent and amplify the growth of women’s hockey.”
In honor of the announcement, junior forward Shannon Hollands, sophomore goaltender Alex Pellicci, and players from the other Beanpot schools were invited to TD Garden as the Boston Bruins celebrated “Women in Sports Night” on the same night as the announcement.
The tournament will also mark the first time that the Women’s Beanpot has a title sponsor. After serving as the first-ever title sponsor of the Men’s Beanpot in 2023, Dunkin’ will extend its sponsorship deal to cover the Women’s Beanpot in 2024.
The Women’s Beanpot, an annual college hockey tournament consisting of Harvard, Boston College, Northeastern, and Boston University, has traditionally rotated between the on-campus rinks at each university. Following Boston College’s hosting of the 2023 iteration of the tournament, the 2024 tournament was scheduled to be hosted by the Crimson at Bright-Landry Hockey Center. While TD Garden will host the 2024 championship and consolation games, the opening round will likely still occur on Harvard’s campus.
The move to TD Garden comes on the heels of other recent developments to further showcase women’s ice hockey. In January, the Crimson took the ice against Quinnipiac in the nearly 40,000-seat Fenway Park as part of the 2023 Frozen Fenway Series. Furthermore, the NCAA women’s ice hockey tournament was expanded from eight schools to eleven in 2022. The NCAA Competition Oversight Committee recommended the change as it grew the size proportional to the men’s field of 16.
Similar to the decision to expand the NCAA tournament, the relocation of the championship game to TD Garden brings the Women’s Beanpot to the same level as the men’s. The men’s version of the Beanpot, held on the first and second Monday of each February, has always been showcased on the big stage. Following the first tournament, which was played at Boston Arena, now known as Matthews Arena, the tournament has been contested at either the Boston Garden or TD Garden, which replaced the former in 1996. For Harvard senior captain Kyra Willoughby, the move was long overdue.
“I think it means everything,” the Academic All-Ivy Leaguerd said. “It’s an overdue decision to elevate women’s hockey and put it on the same level as the Men’s Beanpot.”
With the Women’s Beanpot moving away from its traditional slot, the Tuesday after the Men’s Beanpot, and on to Jan. 23, the 2024 tournament will put all eyes on women’s hockey.
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