Loren Gabel excited for first PWHL game with Boston

It’s been two historic night’s for the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) with PWHL Toronto opening the 2024 inaugural season Jan. 1 with a 4-0 loss to PWHL New York.

Tuesday night saw a record breaking crowd at TD Place in Ottawa with 8,318 people in attendance at the venue to watch PWHL Montreal play PWHL Ottawa.

For Kitchener’s Loren Gabel, she’s excited to be back on the ice and to have one league where the best athletes in the world will be featured.

“I’m super excited to get going, obviously a lot of emotions going into tonight’s game,” she told CityNews Kitchener. “It’s been really great watching the other teams play. Super excited and can’t wait to hit the ice with my team.”

The 26-year-old was last year’s Premier Hockey Federation’s Most Valuable Player with the Boston Pride. She was also named Outstanding Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year scoring 20 goals and 20 assists in 22 games played in the 2022-23 season.

Gabel said having good fan bases in each of the six markets where there are PWHL teams is something that’s important to her and the success of the league.

“I think having a good fan base is definitely something that we want to strive for. We have in the first two games but I think having those young girls and young boys come and watch us, they have something to look forward to. That’s the most important thing just having our teams in those hockey cities that allow them to get to know women’s hockey at the professional level.”

Gabel said it’s an amazing feeling to be in the position that she’s in getting ready for her first PWHL game against PWHL Minnesota Wednesday night.

“Growing up, I said I wanted to play in the NHL and obviously that’s not possible but to now have a professional league to play in and play against the best players in the world is truly amazing,” she said. “It’s a huge honour to be able to play in this league and be able to play for Boston. It’s a dream come true. Can’t wait.”

Gabel can’t help but thank all of the pioneers of women’s hockey that have come before them to allow this opportunity to be possible.

“Just being super grateful for everything that has happened,” she said. “All of the pioneers that have come before us, we wouldn’t be where we are today without them. I think being positive, having fun and I’m looking forward to wearing that jersey and playing for your teammates and playing for one another.”

She added that seeing the support that has come out in Toronto and Ottawa really shows how much people enjoy women’s hockey.

“It’s amazing, anytime we have any type of support, it’s truly great to see. I think the fans that’ll be at our game and the rest of the games this season, it’s great to see that they will be supporting us. It’s going to be really great to basically have the rink packed.”

Gabel will be teammates with American hockey legend and PWHL Boston captain, Hilary Knight. Knight was named captain Tuesday with Jamie Lee Rattray and Megan Keller being named alternates.

PWHL Boston’s first matchup will be against the PWHL’s highly touted first overall pick in the 2023 PWHL Draft, Taylor Heise.

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