Brendan Leipsic’s Demise, and the National Women’s Hockey League’s Rise

Two weeks ago, NHLer Brendan Leipsic’s misogynistic Instagram conversations were leaked by an account that has since been closed. Leipsic played for the Washington Capitals. Leipsic’s brother, and a Florida Panthers player were also apart of the conversation. Their comments largely focused on demeaning Leipsic’s linemates, Nic Dowd, and Garnet Hathaway, and degrading women. His comments can be read here.

The response from the hockey community was quick. After taking a lot of heat online, Leipsic issued an apology. By that time, it was too late. A Washington Capitals spokesperson said that the Capitals would deal with the issue internally, which they did, by releasing him. The NHL condemned the remarks and echoed the Capitals’ sentiments: that comments like that have no place in hockey.

While Leipsic wasn’t the first person in hockey to be so misogynistic, here’s hoping he’s the last. The NHL has made great contributions to the women’s game to date, even though they have been criticized by some, for not doing enough.

Another example of the NHL being in hot water with women was 2019 NHL All-Star Game Skills Contest, where the league had many of women’s hockey’s best players demonstrating each individual contest. When one of the women completed the demonstration in a faster time than the NHL’s best at that particular contest, many people demanded the NHL pay the prize money to the woman who completed it faster than the NHLers.

Instead of paying the female player the prize money, they paid the NHLer who completed the individual skill the fastest. Many players were impressed by the female’s ability to complete the contest, and agreed she should win the prize money. The NHL never paid her, but Bauer did.

When the CWHL decided to fold last April, many players, employees and fans were heartbroken. Especially after the success of the female players at the NHL All-Star Game, many fans were hoping to see the women of the CWHL and the NWHL become household names. They did not expect to see the CWHL auction off its assets, including trophies, to reconcile its debts. When the NWHL announced it would continue to run and would welcome any CWHL players with open arms, many players decided to boycott the league.

The NWHL had plans to expand into Canada and announced a team would begin in Toronto. The team was granted first overall pick in the NWHL’s draft, which they traded to the Boston Pride. The draft was extremely successful and featured multiple WNBA players announcing the picks. The Toronto franchise recently released the name for the team: the Toronto 6ix.
Since the NHL is one of the NWHL’s main sponsors, it is important, financially and morally, to continue to grow the game of women’s hockey. That cannot be done with people like Brendan Leipsic in the game.