Ice hockey’s new Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) has set an attendance record for a professional women’s hockey match with 8,318 fans in attendance.

The January 2 opener between Ottawa and Montreal at The Arena at TD Place topped the 7,765 attending the championship game of the 2021-22 Svenska Damhockeyligan, The Swedish Women's Hockey League, between Brynäs and Luleå.

The number also beats the previous North American record of 8,122 at the 2017 Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) All-Star Game in Toronto, and the previous North American record for a regular-season professional women’s hockey game was 5,938 in 2016 in the CWHL match between Les Canadiennes de Montreal and the Calgary Inferno.

Amy Scheer, PWHL’s senior vice president of business operations, said: “We are honored by the welcome the people of Ottawa have shown PWHL Ottawa and our league.

“This record is a testament to the passion of our fans, reflecting a bond between our league and our community that we are committed to building even more strongly over time.”

PWHL Ottawa General Manager Mike Hirshfeld added: “We have been completely overwhelmed by the support Ottawa has shown us. This amazing turnout, for our very first game ever, is utterly unforgettable. The energy of our fans drives us forward, every minute of every day.”

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The match followed the league’s sold-out launch on January 1 where 2,537 fans watched PWHL New York beat PWHL Toronto 4-0 at Toronto’s Mattamy Athletic Centre.

The league was announced last August, with six inaugural franchises and a 24-game regular season for 2024 running until late May to early June.

The league features three teams in the US – Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and the New York City area – and three teams in Canada – Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa.