The Buffalo Beauts are a professional women's ice hockey team based in Amherst, New York. The team was established in 2015 as one of the four founding franchises of the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL). They play at Northtown Center in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst. The team played at Harborcenter in downtown Buffalo for their first four seasons. The team has advanced to the Isobel Cup Finals in the NWHL's first four seasons, winning in 2016–17.
|City||Amherst, New York|
|League||National Women's Hockey League|
|Home arena||Northtown Center|
|Colors||Blue, black, silver, white|
|General manager||Mandy Cronin|
|Head coach||Pete Perram|
|Media||716 Sports Podcast / WBNY|
The Buffalo News
NWHL Cross Ice Pass (On YouTube)
From 2017 to 2019, the Beauts were owned by Pegula Sports and Entertainment. Pegula severed ties with the NWHL in the 2019 offseason, causing the team to relocate to the Northtown Center.
The Beauts held their first summer free agent camp on May 23 and May 24, 2015. In July 2015, the Beauts signed free agent and 2-time Team USA Olympic goaltender Brianne McLaughlin, making her the first player to sign a contract with the franchise.
The team made its debut at home on October 11, 2015 in a 4–1 loss versus the Boston Pride. During a 5–3 home loss against the Boston Pride on October 25, 2015, Brianne McLaughlin allowed three goals by Brianna Decker, resulting in the first hat trick in NWHL history.
The Beauts finished the regular season third out of four teams. In the semifinals of the inaugural Isobel Cup championships, the Beauts faced the Connecticut Whale. The Whale had a perfect record against the Beauts in the regular season, but the Beauts upset the Whale by winning the last two games in the best-of-three series. They advanced to the championship series, but dropped two games in succession and were swept by the Boston Pride.
On October 7, 2016, Beauts forward Harrison Browne came out as a transgender man and thus became the first openly transgender athlete in professional American team sports. That same year the Beauts won the 2016–17 Isobel Cup Championship in an upset win over the defending champion Boston Pride. This was Buffalo's first professional hockey championship since the Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League won the 1970 Calder Cup.
On December 21, 2017, Pegula Sports and Entertainment (PSE), owners of the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres and Harborcenter, announced it had purchased the Beauts. This made the Beauts the first team in the NWHL not owned by the league and the first professional women's hockey team in North America to be owned by the same organization of its market's NHL team.
On June 27, 2018, the Beauts signed Team Canada goaltender Shannon Szabados. Szabados had previously only played professional hockey on men's leagues such as the Southern Professional Hockey League and is the first woman to record a shutout in men's league.
On May 8, 2019, following the announcement of a professional women's hockey player strike, Pegula Sports and Entertainment (PSE) relinquished ownership of the team back to the NWHL. Under Pegula, the Beauts were considered a well-run operation, with the team sharing resources and training facilities with the Sabres and Rochester Americans. Szabados cited the amenities provided to the Beauts' players through the partnership as one of the goals of the strike for the rest of professional women's hockey.
While the Beauts played at the Harborcenter, in the NWHL's largest arena by capacity, they consistently led the NWHL in attendance for the first few seasons until they were surpassed by the Minnesota Whitecaps in 2018–19. The league indicated that it wanted to keep the team playing at the Harborcenter, which is owned by PSE, but the severance also required the team to negotiate an arena lease.
On June 25, 2019, PSE sent a cease and desist letter to the NWHL for using the Beauts' name and brand. As part of the original agreement, PSE obtained the trademarks associated with the team and formed a separate entity called Buffalo Beauts Hockey to operate the team. While PSE verbally agreed to relinquished ownership and operations of the team, the NWHL apparently did not sign the transfer paperwork before the deadline, leading to PSE's cease and desist letter. As PSE still owned the Beauts' branding as of July 2 while the NWHL continued to use the Beauts' name, but the team retained the same as of the 2019–20 season. The league then moved the Beauts' home games to the Northtown Center in nearby Amherst prior to the 2019–20 season.
|2015–16||18||5||9||0||4||0||14||57||69||Lost Isobel Cup Championship to Boston Pride|
|2016–17||17||6||10||1||4||0||11||60||77||Won Isobel Cup Championship over Boston Pride|
|2017–18||16||12||4||—||0||—||24||51||41||Lost Isobel Cup Championship to Metropolitan Riveters|
|2018–19||16||11||4||—||0||1||23||57||25||Lost Isobel Cup Championship to Minnesota Whitecaps|
Courtney Burke from the Wisconsin Badgers women's ice hockey program became the first player in franchise history to be selected in the inaugural 2015 NWHL Draft. Raised in the state capital of Albany, New York, Burke was also the first defensewoman selected in NWHL Draft history.
The following are the Beauts' selections from the 2015 NWHL Draft of college players in their junior year held on June 20, 2015. Note: The team has not announced any contract signings from this list to date. A player who is drafted but does not sign with the organization that selected her, may enter free-agency after completing her senior year.
|4||Courtney Burke||Defense||Univ of Wisconsin|
|8||Sarah Lefort||Forward||Boston University|
|12||Amanda Leveille||Goalie||Univ of Minnesota|
|First goal||Kelley Steadman||October 11, 2015|
|First win||Brianne McLaughlin||November 29, 2015|
|First Isobel Cup goal||Shelby Bram||March 11, 2016|
|First Championship MVP||Brianne McLaughlin||March 19, 2017|
|First Shutout||Amanda Leveille||January 27, 2018|
In local Media the Buffalo Beauts are covered by The Buffalo News and home games are broadcast live by 716 Sports Podcast and simulcast on radio by WBNY, the noncommercial student radio station of Buffalo State College.
Awards and honors
- "NWHL names Mandy Cronin as Beauts general manager". The Buffalo News. May 28, 2019.
- "Pete Perram Named Head Coach of Buffalo Beauts". OurSports Central. June 14, 2019.
- Fink, James (April 16, 2015). "Buffalo Beauts to play at HarborCenter". Buffalo Business First.
- Fink, James (May 22, 2015). "Buffalo Beauts hold first summer training camp". Buffalo Business First.
- "Buffalo Beauts sign goaltender Brianne McLaughlin – Sports". The Buffalo News. July 3, 2015. Archived from the original on July 8, 2015. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
- Steele, Michele (October 7, 2016). "NWHL player Harrison Browne comes out as a transgender man". ESPN. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
- "SCORING MACHINE JESS JONES IS A BEAUT". www.nwhl.zone. August 31, 2017. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
- Moritz, Amy (December 21, 2017). "Pegulas add the Buffalo Beauts to their hockey holdings". The Buffalo News. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
- Jay, Michelle (June 27, 2018). "Shannon Szabados signs with Buffalo Beauts". The Ice Garden. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
- Anstey, Evan (May 8, 2019). "Report: Pegula Sports & Entertainment severs relationship with Buffalo Beauts". WIVB-TV. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
- "Pegulas relinquish control of Buffalo Beauts". The Sports Network. May 8, 2019.
- "How the Minnesota Whitecaps are finding success in the NWHL". espnW. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
- "2018-19 Season Sets New Highs for Attendance, Viewership, Merchandising and Engagement". NWHL.zone. March 28, 2019. Archived from the original on April 5, 2019. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
- "NWHL Regains Operational Control of the Buffalo Beauts". NWHL. May 8, 2019.
- "AP Source: Pegula relinquishes control of NWHL Buffalo team". WKBW. May 8, 2019.
- "Women's hockey league seeks court ruling over Beauts name, logo". The Buffalo News. July 2, 2019.
- "NWHL's Beauts Find New Home". The Victory Press. 2019-07-29. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
- "NWHL Reveals Expanded Schedule for the 2019-20 Season". NWHL. July 29, 2019.
- "Draft Live | NWHL". Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
- "Beauts' Szabados, Bolden, Elia and Scamurra Win NWHL Awards". NWHL.zone. March 25, 2019.