Time flies when you’re having fun. And the Professional Women’s Hockey League  has been having fun. From breaking attendance records to trades that got the hockey world talking, the PWHL had an active inaugural season. 

Now, the playoffs. The inaugural postseason begins tonight with four of the league’s six teams competing for their chance at being the first team to hoist the Walter Cup. Below is everything you need to know to keep up with the postseason for bandwagoners and day ones. 

How It Works

After 24 regular season games the PWHL’s first playoff picture includes: No. 1 seed Toronto, No. 2 Montréal, No. 3 Boston, and No. 4 Minnesota.

But these are PWHL playoffs so for some extra fun, the PWHL’s playoff rules allow the No. 1 team to choose their opponent between the No. 3 and No. 4 team in the standings. Toronto selected Minnesota and the best-of-five begins tonight with Toronto hosting Game 1 at Coca-Cola Coliseum. Montréal will host Game 2 against Boston on Thursday

The winners advance to the best-of-five final for the Walter Cup. 

The Teams

Toronto: After a slow start, Toronto notched a record-setting 11-game win streak across February and March. Toronto boasts not just the league’s top two scorers in Emma Maltais and Natalie Spooner, but a defense that has allowed the fewest goals in the PWHL. 

Montréal: After setting attendance records this season—the April 20th game against PWHL Toronto drew 21,105 fans— Montréal played a consistent game that kept them near the top of the standings and their overtime record is no joke. The team is 3-5 in OT this season and will be dangerous in a postseason with sudden death OT rules.

Boston: Despite the whispers of an early vacation, Boston moved from fifth to third in the standings after they won four of their five games at the end of the regular season. Still, Boston is the team with the fewest goals scored this season and their offense will have some serious locking-in to do. No one said the playoffs were going to be easy. 

Minnesota: The original attendance record setters, Minnesota has had a rollercoaster season. After marking a five-game win streak before the international break in March, the State of Hockey lost their last five games and the stars aligned for them to squeak into the postseason. 

Players To Watch

Natalie Spooner, Toronto, Forward: Spooner led the league in points (27) and goals (20) this regular season. The power forward is the leading candidate to be named the PWHL’s Forward of the Year and to win the inaugural Billie Jean King MVP Award.

Marie Philip-Poulin, Montréal, Forward: The team leader sits near the top of the league in both goals and assists. The team’s standing is a testament to her leadership and playmaking on and off the ice. Just remember, there is a reason they call her Captain Clutch. 

Aerin Frankel, Boston, Goalie: Given Boston’s scoring struggles, Frankel is a key piece to the playoff puzzle. After an impressive .945 save percentage in April, opponents will need to be careful around her. 

Abby Boreen, Minnesota, Forward: Hours before Game 1, Minnesota activated Boreen for the playoffs. Under the conditions of her reserve player contract, she is only eligible to play one series and it seems like general manager Natalie Darwitz decided the game against the top seed was the time to bring her in. During her two 10-day contracts, 24-year-old made an impact on the team, scoring four goals and an assist in nine games.  

Where To Watch:

As mentioned, the action begins tonight when Toronto hosts Minnesota at Coca-Cola Coliseum for Game 1 at 7 p.m. ET. Montréal and Boston start their series tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET from Place Bell.

The PWHL makes it easy for everyone to enjoy the sport. Canadian viewers can tune in on TSN4, while everyone else can watch for free on the league’s official Youtube channel