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Premier Hockey Federation Announces 2023 Playoff Format

Boston Pride forward Loren Gabel (center) and PHF Commissioner Reagan Carey (right) stand center ice at Mattamy Athletic Centre during the 2023 PHF All-Star Showcase. Photo by Tiffany Thompson/Black Rosie Media
Boston Pride forward Loren Gabel (center) and PHF Commissioner Reagan Carey (right) stand center ice at Mattamy Athletic Centre during the 2023 PHF All-Star Showcase. Photo by Tiffany Thompson/Black Rosie Media

The PHF will return to a 3-game series in 2023, the league announced Thursday morning. The top four teams in the league will advance to the semifinals to be played at The Bentley Arena in the Boston area and Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto. The Massachusetts series will begin Thursday, March 16 with the Ontario series starting the next day. The Isobel Cup Final will be a winner-take-all game held at a neutral site on Sunday, March 26. Details are forthcoming.

“The 2023 Isobel Cup Playoffs will be a culmination of a truly historic season for professional women’s hockey,” Commissioner Reagan Carey said in the release.

“We launched our new era with a record number of teams and the largest regular season schedule in our eight-year history that has provided greater competition for more athletes than ever before. It was imperative that our playoff format underscore the importance of every regular season game and the valuable points awarded in the standings throughout the year to produce a final four that is most deserving of championship contention."

The league hasn't hosted a postseason series since the inaugural season. In 2016, the semifinals and championship rounds were both best-of-three series.

Let's take a look at the Final Four as of right now.

Historic building in Toronto in marquee that reads "Mattamy Athletic Centre  MAPLE LEAF GARDENS"
Mattamy Athletic Centre in downtown Toronto named one of host arenas for 2023 PHF Playoffs. Photo by Lori Bolliger

Current Standings

  1. Boston Pride 14-2-1

  2. Toronto Six 13-3-2

  3. Minnesota Whitecaps 10-4-2

  4. Connecticut Whale 8-7-2

  5. Montreal Force 7-10-1

  6. Buffalo Beauts 2-12-2

  7. Metropolitan Riveters 6-12-0

The PHF announced today that the Boston Pride and Toronto Six have officially clinched playoff berths. Although the final seeding of the four playoff teams is still to be determined, it won't impact the host locations. Regardless of seeding, Bentley Arena in Waltham, MA will host the Pride’s semifinal series. Mattamy Athletic Centre will host the semifinal series that involves the Toronto Six. The latter hosted this year's PHF All-Star Showcase last month.

About Isobel

The Isobel Cup takes its name from Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley’s daughter, Isobel, who shared his love of the game and is known to be one of the first female hockey players in Canada. Isobel, along with her brothers, encouraged her father to purchase a silver cup to award to the best amateur hockey team in Canada. The Stanley Cup, as it was later named, became the championship trophy of the National Hockey League.

The front of the Isobel Cup reads: “The Lady Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Cup 1875-1963. This Cup shall be awarded annually to the greatest professional women's hockey team in North America. All who pursue this Cup, pursue a dream; a dream born with Isobel, that shall never die. EST. 2016.”

Winners by Year

Boston Pride - 2016

Buffalo Beauts - 2017

Metropolitan Riveters - 2018

Minnesota Whitecaps - 2019

Boston Pride - 2021

Boston Pride - 2022

Note: Boston and Minnesota were finalists in 2020 but the series was canceled as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Full 2023 Isobel Cup Playoffs Schedule:

Thursday, March 16: Semifinal Game 1 in Boston

Friday, March 17: Semifinal Game 1 in Toronto

Saturday, March 18: Semifinal Game 2 in Boston Semifinal Game 2 in Toronto

Sunday, March 19: Semifinal Game 3 in Boston (if necessary)

Monday, March 20: Semifinal Game 3 in Toronto (if necessary)

Sunday, March 26: Championship Final (location TBA)

Game times, broadcast details, and ticket information will be confirmed and announced at a later date.

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