HISTORY OF THE MAWHL
Established in 1975, the MAWHL (the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Hockey League) is the oldest continuously active women’s ice hockey league on the East coast. We have three divisions allowing for all levels of skaters.
The MAWHL that you see skating today was begun by two Delaware Bobcats players: Louie Strano and Sylvia Wasylyk. Our league was first known as the Delaware Valley Women’s Hockey League, that as a member of A.H.A.U.S., consisted of only three teams. The Delaware Bobcats, the Boulevard Hookers (now known as the Philadelphia Women’s Ice Hockey Club aka Philadelphia Freeze) and the University of Pennsylvania’s club team. In the 1976-77 season, the Philadelphia Ice-Centenails joined our growing league
During the summer of 1977, the increased popularity of ice hockey sparked the birth of the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Ice Hockey League. It consisted of nine teams at the start of the 1977-78 season. The newcomers included: the Bergen Blades A and B teams, the Ironbound Bandits, the Pittsburgh Pennies, and the Ice-Centenials B team.
At the beginning of the 1978-79 season the Budweiser Redcoats (known as the Washington Redcoats, now Washington Wolves), and the Green Machine Eagles from Long Island, New York joined our league. Unfortunately the Pittsburgh Pennies, and the Bergen Blades B team dropped out. With these changes we now had a nine-team league divided into North and South regional divisions.
At the start of the 1979-80 season our league started with eight teams. Four in the both divisions. The changes were a result of the Jersey City Recreational team joining, with the Ice-Centennails B team and the University of Pennsylvania team dropping out. It seemed that the increasing ice time costs and the decreasing player enrollments were taking its toll on the leagues stability.
At the start of the 1980-81 season, only six teams remained in the league. Gradually even that number diminished to four with the losses of the Bergen Blades in 1981, and the then Long Island Eagles in 1986. Besides ice time costs our league had to also endure the competition for new players against the local boys high school hockey clubs who have many promising women hockey players in their ranks.
It is our hope that with the increased trend toward ice hockey opportunities for women in our sport that it will spark a new and lasting interest in local women into join our league. We are encouraged and inspired by recent events that have finally included the introduction of women to the professional ranks of ice hockey.
Since 1986 the same four teams: the Delaware Bobcats, the Ironbound Bandits, the Philadelphia Club, and the Washington Redcoats had endued increased ice time costs and unstable player enrollment. Currently only the Washington Wolves remain as the only team left from the developmental years of the MAWHL.
Defunct women’s leagues from the Delaware Valley.
The below leagues are defunct. Many of the teams and players within these two league played for or are/were a part of the MAWHL. Each league helped to define and change our league in that they brought about competition and made it possible for more women to play the game.
TWHA – Tri Women’s Hockey Association
VFLHA – Valley Forge Ladies Hockey Association