To provide an environment in which women can play hockey free from all forms of harassment or discrimination and which encourages fair play, openness and friendship.
To provide a competitive and social atmosphere which promotes the growth of leadership, coaching, and skill development.
What does the DWHL Offer?
The DWHL offers a hockey experience for both new and returning players. For new players, we offer several different ways to get you on the ice to learn the sport, including:
- Equipment Loaner Program – The DWHL offers loaner equipment for new players to come out and try the game. Let us know at least 2 weeks in advance that you would like to borrow equipment and we will contact you to set you up with all the gear you need. On the first night you skate, a DWHL representative will meet you at the rink to show you how to use all of the gear and answer any questions you may have. Once you are on the ice, we have coaches who will help you to learn to skate, play, and love the game of hockey!
- Bench and On-ice Coaching – The DWHL has many programs for our skaters and several of them include on-ice or bench coaching to help you improve your game. All of our camps have coaches on-ice to help you learn and improve your skills. Our Recreational and Novice leagues have bench coaches during each game, and during the season each team has 2 practices where your coaches are on-ice with you to help you practice the skills they have been teaching in the locker room and on the bench.
- Novice/ Intermediate Players -- In the Fall and Spring, the Recreational Division is a mix of novice and intermediate players and is geared toward a fun, learning environment and includes bench coaching. In the Summer we have separate Novice and Intermediate Divisions. The Summer Novice Division includes bench coaching and the Summer Intermediate Division may have coaches, subject to availability.
- Intermediate/Advanced Players – For those players who are more advanced, the DWHL offers three different ways to play. 2) Competitive Division – in the Fall and Spring, we have an in-house division for intermediate and advanced players looking for more of a challenge and faster level of play. 1) B1 and B2 Women’s Association of Colorado Hockey (WACH) teams. These teams have practices during the week approximately 1 time a month and have games on weekends (travel within the Denver Metro area is required). Tryouts for these teams are held in August and teams are chosen by coaches evaluation.3) Summer Advanced League – our summer advanced league is designed to challenge players with advanced skill levels in a competitive environment. Teams are not provided with coaches for the Advanced League.
- Goalie Programs – Goalies do not pay registration fees for in-house leagues. Goalies must be DWHL members and registered with USA Hockey. Some teams may require other fees, such as jersey fees. Goaltenders may be charged a nominal fee for participating in special Goalie Coach sessions.
DWHL is a member of USA Hockey and CAHA, which is Colorado's affiliate of USA Hockey. USA Hockey is the national governing body for the sport of hockey in the United States. The DWHL follows USA Hockey Official Rules as well as our own set of DWHL Rules.
DWHL Background and History
The DWHL was founded with the vision of bringing novice women's hockey to the Denver area. We are primarily focused on novice players with our main mission being to cater to the "never-evers" - those women who have never, ever played a hockey game. The success of this mission is echoed in the growth that we see every year as we continue to offer a safe, fun learning environment for those who want to learn to play.
Our players come to us from all different backgrounds: from 18 year old skaters looking for an adult league, to players in their 60's who enjoy staying active; our players' experience ranges from those who have been skating since they were children to those that are delicately balancing on blades for the first time and everywhere in between. It is very common for us to have a never-ever show up the first night of one of our leagues and have no idea what position they play, where to stand during a face-off, or when to make a line change. However, whatever a player's skill level or background is, they are not alone in the DWHL! Our coaching staff is happy to help and our teams are always willing to welcome new skaters. It's a great environment to learn and grow as a player.
For instance, former board member Beth Young, played her very first hockey game when she was 33 years old. She describes her first experiences like most of us in the DHWL would. "I could barely skate, I was incredibly intimidated, and I had no clue what to do and where to go. But I signed up to play in the league and by the time my first shift was over, I was hooked for life - I have never regretted my decision to get started."
One thing we should clear up right now is that all DWHL games and events follow USA Hockey rules and are therefore NON-CHECKING. The violent play that you see at the NHL level absolutely does not go on at DWHL games. While injuries can occur in hockey and it is generally a physical sport (that's what we love about it, you know!), the blatant hitting simply is not tolerated, ever. Please come watch one of our games any time and you will see what it is all about. Better yet, come and play a game!
Past, Present, and Future
Women's ice hockey in Colorado has been rapidly growing since the Colorado Avalanche NHL team first arrived in Denver. Although women's ice hockey has roots in Colorado dating back more than three decades, the interest in becoming a player versus a bystander has increased dramatically.
In November 2000, Beth Gyurovits believed she had an answer to meet the growing interest of women in hockey in the Denver area, and together with a few volunteers, formed the Denver Women's Hockey League.
According to USA Hockey membership data, Girls' / Women's membership continues to experience significant growth. Member statistics from USA Hockey indicate adult female ice hockey participation in the 2013-14 season was 16,940 and 1,112 of those were in Colorado which makes us 4th in the nation!
- November 2000 - Denver Womens Hockey League is formed.
- January 2001 - DWHL issues first official press release.
- February 2001 - Bylaws filed with the Secretary of State, officially recognizing the DWHL as a not-for-profit organization.
- June 2001 - First league play in the Denver Womens Hockey League, comprised of four inaugural teams: Jets, Nordiques, Northstars and Victorias.
- October 2001 - First fall-winter season for the Denver Womens Hockey League.
- March 2002 - The McNeish cup is awarded to the Jets for first place in the league.
- June 2002 - Denver Womens Hockey League adds a new team, Bombers, to the league.
- October 2002 - Intermediate and Novice divisions are created and the league expands to 7 teams, 3 Intermediate and 4 Novice. Aces team added to the Intermediate division.
- March 2003 - The McNeish cup is awarded to the Nordiques for first place in the Novice division and The Crowley cup is awarded to the Aces for first place in the Intermediate division.
- June 2003 - Intermediate division expands to 4 teams with the addition of the Metros team.
- August 2003 - DWHL forms a competitive team in the WACH - Women's Association of Colorado Hockey, B1 Division - DWHL Spitfires.
- August 2004 - DWHL becomes a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
- September 2004 - The DWHL hosts the first Mile Hi Mountain Matchup and hosts teams from Colorado and around the United States.
- Fall 2005 - DWHL WACH teams expand to a B1 and B2 team with the B2 Sptifires and the B1 Renegades.
- Fall 2007 - The DWHL adds another WACH B2 Team – the Firebirds. All WACH Team names are based on defunct hockey teams as well as WWII Fighter Planes. As their first team activity, the Firebirds volunteer for the day at Children’s Hospital.
- Spring 2009 - The Spitfires and Firebirds meet in the championship game for the WACH B2 State Title to battle for the WACH Isobel Cup. The Spitfires win a close game to become the 2008-2009 WACH B2 champions
- Fall 2009 - The BelaHockey Granato Cup is donated to the DWHL by Bela Hockey and the Nordiques become the first champions to receive the cup.
- Spring 2010 - The Royals win the BelaHockey Granato Cup for the Spring 2010 Season.
- Today - The DWHL continues to support WACH Teams, tournament teams, and has a 3 season in-house division that is host to well over 100 players over the course of the year.
All of this is made possible by the dedication of our members, volunteers, coaches, families, and friends.
Goals Expanding offerings to include off-ice strength training sessions and game strategy instruction.
The future of the DWHL is a bright one due to the passion and dedication of its current members and board members. Many members dedicate several hours of work per week to organizing and running the DWHL, which is in addition to their full-time employment.
Overall, the DWHL strives to not only provide games, but to provide a pathway to be a better player through general practice sessions, women's mentoring network, community relations activities, promotional activities, and lots of fun!
So, you want to learn how to play hockey, eh? Well, you have come to the right place! Take a look at some common resources to get all of the information you need to get started playing hockey with us.
Ever wonder about the DWHL's mission? How about what exactly we can / strive to offer to our members?
Or, are you just interested in learning about how we got started & got to where we are now?
We've heard a lot of them over the years.
Here are some responses to those which are frequently asked!