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‘Absolutely incredible’: PWHL Ottawa fans make inaugural season a success despite missing playoffs, team says

PWHL Ottawa held its season ending media availability on Tuesday, with players and management taking the opportunity to thank fans in the capital.

“I want to obviously thank the fans here in Ottawa,” said Mike Hirshfeld, the team’s general manager. “They’ve been absolutely incredible.”

The PWHL’s inaugural season ended in disappointment for Ottawa after narrowly missing the playoffs by 3 points. Despite the lack of success on the ice, games at TD Place were a hot commodity.

In 12 home games, PWHL Ottawa averaged 7,496 fans. The most attended game was on April 27, when 8,452 fans watched Ottawa take on Montreal.

The first game of the season on Jan. 2 set a North American attendance record for a women’s hockey game, and though it has since been broken, players said they would never forget that night.

“I remember going out for warmups that first game and just having tears in my eyes,” said forward Gabbie Hughes. “Trying to contain that excitement and the emotions of where women’s hockey is at and having this league be so big and so many supporters. It was everything I could ever dream of.”

The team is already looking forward to next season, and thinks the support from the fan base will help recruit players.

“I think that’s part of the reason Ottawa is such an attractive place for players to want to come,” continued Hirshfeld. “They want to be part of that. They want to be cheered on every night and have 8,000 people in the stands.”

The franchise will now look forward to the draft, which is set to be held next month.

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