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  • Everett, Mass., Oct. 8, 2015: Boston Pride goaltender Lauren Slebodnick adjusts her helmet during her team's last practice before their season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Everett, Mass., Oct. 8, 2015: Boston Pride forward Amanda Pelkey at her team's last practice before their season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts. Pelkey was a standout player during her four years on the University of Vermont's hockey team and was the first player to sign with the Pride. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Everett, Mass., Oct. 8, 2015: Boston Pride Head Coach Bobby Jay goes over strategies for the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts. Jay served as assistant coach for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team and was on the coaching staff of the U.S. Women’s National Team at the IIHF Women’s World Championships in 2012 and 2013, as well as the Four Nations Cup in 2011, 2012, and 2013. He was also a player himself, having experience in both the NHL and IHL. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Everett, Mass., Oct. 8, 2015: Boston Pride Head Coach Bobby Jay goes over strategies for the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts. Jay served as assistant coach for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team and was on the coaching staff of the U.S. Women’s National Team at the IIHF Women’s World Championships in 2012 and 2013, as well as the Four Nations Cup in 2011, 2012, and 2013. He was also a player himself, having experience in both the NHL and IHL. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Everett, Mass., Oct. 8, 2015: Boston Pride forward Hilary Knight listens as Head Coach Bobby Jay goes over strategies before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts. Knight is a two-time Olympian, former CWHL, IIHF, and Wisconsin Badgers hockey star. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Everett, Mass., Oct. 8, 2015: Boston Pride forward Rachel Llanes runs through a drill at her team's last practice before their season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts. After a successful career in the NCAA with the Northeastern Huskies, Llanes spent two seasons playing for the Boston Blades in the CWHL where she helped her team win the 2015 Clarkson Cup championship before joining the Pride. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Wilmington, Mass., Oct. 10, 2015: Boston Pride forwards Amanda Pelkey (left), Emily Field (center) and Corinne Buie (right) receive their new jerseys while waiting for the team bus to take them to Buffalo, N.Y. for their season opener against the Buffalo Beauts. The NWHL is the first professional women's hockey league to pay its players as well as provide them with gear. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Wilmington, Mass., Oct. 10, 2015: Boston Pride forwards Jordan Smelker (left) and Jillian Dempsey (right) take a picture together after receiving their new jerseys while waiting for the team bus to take them to Buffalo, N.Y. for their season opener against the Buffalo Beauts. The NWHL is the first professional women's hockey league to pay its players as well as provide them with gear. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Somewhere en route to Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 10, 2015: Boston Pride forward Hilary Knight takes a "selfie" with her teammates while on the bus to Buffalo, N.Y. for their season opener against the Buffalo Beauts. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Somewhere en route to Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 10, 2015: The Boston Pride travel by bus to Buffalo, N.Y. for their season opener against the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter on Oct. 11. The date marked the official start of the National Women's Hockey League, the first professional women's hockey league to pay its players. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride forward Corinne Buie applies tape to her stick before the Pride's game against the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. Buie was a member of the CWHL's Boston Blades and a star forward at Providence College before signing with the Boston Pride. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride Head Coach Bobby Jay goes over strategies before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride players warm up before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride forwards Jillian Dempsey (left), Hilary Knight (center) and Zoe HIckel (right) warm up before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride goalies Brittany Ott (left), Kelsie Fralick (center) and Lauren Slebodnick (right) suit up before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride forward Hilary Knight suits up before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston Pride wait to take to the ice in the locker room before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston Pride wait to take to the ice in the locker room before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride defenseman Alyssa Gagliardi (left) and forwards Jillian Dempsey (center) and Jordan Smelker (right) wait in the locker room before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride defenseman Gisele "Gigi" Marvin, a two-time competitor for Team USA in the Winter Olympics and a U.S. Women's National Team veteran, leads her teammates in prayer moments before the start of the Pride's season opener against the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter in Buffalo, N.Y. Marvin suffered from a shoulder injury early in the game, but the Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1 on opening day of the National Women's Hockey League's inaugural season. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston Pride wait to take to the ice for the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride defenseman Blake Bolden (left) and forwards Amanda Pelkey (center) and Emily Field (right) wait to take to the ice for the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The National Anthem is performed before a game between the Boston Pride and the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston pride take on the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter on opening day of the National Women's Hockey League's inaugural season. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston pride forward Jillian Dempsey takes the puck up the ice during a game against the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter on opening day of the National Women's Hockey League's inaugural season. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston Pride take on the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter on opening day of the National Women's Hockey League's inaugural season. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride Head Coach Bobby Jay talks to his team in between periods during the Pride's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston Pride take to the ice during their season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride defenseman Alyssa Gagliardi during the Pride's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride defenseman Blake Bolden (10) rushes to the ice during a line change as the Pride take on the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride forwards Jordan Smelker (left), Emily Field (center) and Jillian Dempsey (right) watch their teammates during the Pride's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride Head Coach Bobby Jay talks to his team during a break in play as the Pride take on the Buffalo Beauts during their season opener at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride defenseman Blake Bolden takes a break from play but remains focused on the game as the Pride take on the Buffalo Beauts during their season opener at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston Pride take on the Buffalo Beauts during their season opener at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1, and the date marked the start of the National Women's Hockey League's inaugural season. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston Pride celebrate a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Beauts after the season opener at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride defenseman Kacey Bellamy hugs Buffalo Beauts forward Meghan Duggan after the Pride beat the Beauts 4-1 at HarborCenter. Bellamy and Duggan were teammates on Team USA and have competed in two Olympics together. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Everett, Mass., Oct. 8, 2015: Boston Pride goaltender Lauren Slebodnick adjusts her helmet during her team's last practice before their season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Everett, Mass., Oct. 8, 2015: Boston Pride forward Amanda Pelkey at her team's last practice before their season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts. Pelkey was a standout player during her four years on the University of Vermont's hockey team and was the first player to sign with the Pride. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Everett, Mass., Oct. 8, 2015: Boston Pride Head Coach Bobby Jay goes over strategies for the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts. Jay served as assistant coach for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team and was on the coaching staff of the U.S. Women’s National Team at the IIHF Women’s World Championships in 2012 and 2013, as well as the Four Nations Cup in 2011, 2012, and 2013. He was also a player himself, having experience in both the NHL and IHL. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Everett, Mass., Oct. 8, 2015: Boston Pride Head Coach Bobby Jay goes over strategies for the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts. Jay served as assistant coach for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team and was on the coaching staff of the U.S. Women’s National Team at the IIHF Women’s World Championships in 2012 and 2013, as well as the Four Nations Cup in 2011, 2012, and 2013. He was also a player himself, having experience in both the NHL and IHL. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Everett, Mass., Oct. 8, 2015: Boston Pride forward Hilary Knight listens as Head Coach Bobby Jay goes over strategies before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts. Knight is a two-time Olympian, former CWHL, IIHF, and Wisconsin Badgers hockey star. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Everett, Mass., Oct. 8, 2015: Boston Pride forward Rachel Llanes runs through a drill at her team's last practice before their season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts. After a successful career in the NCAA with the Northeastern Huskies, Llanes spent two seasons playing for the Boston Blades in the CWHL where she helped her team win the 2015 Clarkson Cup championship before joining the Pride. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Wilmington, Mass., Oct. 10, 2015: Boston Pride forwards Amanda Pelkey (left), Emily Field (center) and Corinne Buie (right) receive their new jerseys while waiting for the team bus to take them to Buffalo, N.Y. for their season opener against the Buffalo Beauts. The NWHL is the first professional women's hockey league to pay its players as well as provide them with gear. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Wilmington, Mass., Oct. 10, 2015: Boston Pride forwards Jordan Smelker (left) and Jillian Dempsey (right) take a picture together after receiving their new jerseys while waiting for the team bus to take them to Buffalo, N.Y. for their season opener against the Buffalo Beauts. The NWHL is the first professional women's hockey league to pay its players as well as provide them with gear. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Somewhere en route to Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 10, 2015: Boston Pride forward Hilary Knight takes a "selfie" with her teammates while on the bus to Buffalo, N.Y. for their season opener against the Buffalo Beauts. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Somewhere en route to Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 10, 2015: The Boston Pride travel by bus to Buffalo, N.Y. for their season opener against the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter on Oct. 11. The date marked the official start of the National Women's Hockey League, the first professional women's hockey league to pay its players. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride forward Corinne Buie applies tape to her stick before the Pride's game against the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. Buie was a member of the CWHL's Boston Blades and a star forward at Providence College before signing with the Boston Pride. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride Head Coach Bobby Jay goes over strategies before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride players warm up before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride forwards Jillian Dempsey (left), Hilary Knight (center) and Zoe HIckel (right) warm up before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride goalies Brittany Ott (left), Kelsie Fralick (center) and Lauren Slebodnick (right) suit up before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride forward Hilary Knight suits up before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston Pride wait to take to the ice in the locker room before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston Pride wait to take to the ice in the locker room before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride defenseman Alyssa Gagliardi (left) and forwards Jillian Dempsey (center) and Jordan Smelker (right) wait in the locker room before the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride defenseman Gisele "Gigi" Marvin, a two-time competitor for Team USA in the Winter Olympics and a U.S. Women's National Team veteran, leads her teammates in prayer moments before the start of the Pride's season opener against the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter in Buffalo, N.Y. Marvin suffered from a shoulder injury early in the game, but the Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1 on opening day of the National Women's Hockey League's inaugural season. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston Pride wait to take to the ice for the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride defenseman Blake Bolden (left) and forwards Amanda Pelkey (center) and Emily Field (right) wait to take to the ice for the team's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The National Anthem is performed before a game between the Boston Pride and the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston pride take on the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter on opening day of the National Women's Hockey League's inaugural season. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston pride forward Jillian Dempsey takes the puck up the ice during a game against the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter on opening day of the National Women's Hockey League's inaugural season. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston Pride take on the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter on opening day of the National Women's Hockey League's inaugural season. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride Head Coach Bobby Jay talks to his team in between periods during the Pride's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston Pride take to the ice during their season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride defenseman Alyssa Gagliardi during the Pride's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride defenseman Blake Bolden (10) rushes to the ice during a line change as the Pride take on the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride forwards Jordan Smelker (left), Emily Field (center) and Jillian Dempsey (right) watch their teammates during the Pride's season opener versus the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride Head Coach Bobby Jay talks to his team during a break in play as the Pride take on the Buffalo Beauts during their season opener at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride defenseman Blake Bolden takes a break from play but remains focused on the game as the Pride take on the Buffalo Beauts during their season opener at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston Pride take on the Buffalo Beauts during their season opener at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1, and the date marked the start of the National Women's Hockey League's inaugural season. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: The Boston Pride celebrate a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Beauts after the season opener at HarborCenter. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1. ©Amanda Swinhart

  • Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2015: Boston Pride defenseman Kacey Bellamy hugs Buffalo Beauts forward Meghan Duggan after the Pride beat the Beauts 4-1 at HarborCenter. Bellamy and Duggan were teammates on Team USA and have competed in two Olympics together. ©Amanda Swinhart

History Begins

"You should be very proud of yourselves. People paid to come and watch you play today. That's how talented you are."

                                                                          -Boston Pride Head Coach Bobby Jay 

On Oct. 11, 2015 the National Women's Hockey League began its inaugural season. After training camps throughout the summer, a draft on June 20th, media days, practices and much anticipation, the women of the NWHL suited up and hit the ice for what would mark the official start of the first professional women's hockey league to pay its players.

Made up of four teams located in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York, the NWHL has brought the best women's hockey players in the world to the Northeast, and one of those teams, the Boston Prideis made up of some serious talent. Including four Olympians and numerous CWHL, U.S. National Team, and NCAA stars, the Boston Pride are sure to make a run for the Isobel Cup (named after the daughter of Frederick Stanley, donor of the Stanley Cup) during their first season. 

I attended the Pride's last practice before their first game and traveled by bus with the team for their season opener against the Buffalo Beauts at HarborCenter in Buffalo, N.Y. on Oct. 11. Despite the long journey, the team's energy and excitement throughout the weekend was palpable and contagious, and I was thankful to be able to witness such an important day for professional women's hockey. The Pride went on to beat the Beauts 4-1, and have won two more games since.

I was first made aware of the NWHL by a journalist friend of mine, and right away I started visualizing the photos I wanted to make of a story that needed to be told. I knew that this league was going to be something special, something that deserved attention, and I wanted to be a part of making that happen. Luckily, the league has been kind enough to allow me to document the Boston Pride's season as much as possible. I plan to focus on the things you will not see watching at home or sitting in the bleachers. On top of practices twice a week and games every weekend, many of the women of the NWHL balance life as a professional athlete with full-time jobs, so I hope to profile a couple of players' lives outside of hockey as well.

The photos I have taken thus far are a kind of "rough draft" for me. I am not a hockey photographer by any means, and that was certainly reaffirmed as I tried to shoot a bit of action during the game. I see them as a definite starting point, but feel they are lacking story-wise. So, I am excited for what the season will bring, to get to know the players, and to focus on those quiet moments outside of what is taking place on the ice. I hope to join the team as much as I can, and am looking forward to making some interesting pictures as they pursue a championship season. 

One moment that really stuck out in my mind when looking back on the weekend was head coach Bobby Jay's pregame talk to the team in the locker room, as quoted above. Instead of pumping the players up, he asked them to reflect on all of the hard work it took them to get to that game, and to recognize how much they had accomplished. After spending the weekend with the Pride, his words seem even more fitting, because what left the biggest impression on me was the team's immense sense of gratitude.