Good morning. It’s Wednesday. Today we’ll find out about New York’s newest professional sports team, which is scheduled to play its first game at UBS Arena at Belmont Park on Long Island tonight. We’ll also check on the state of two states, New York and New Jersey.
Credit…Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press
Billie Jean King dropped the puck to start the first game of New York’s newest professional sports team, but it was an away game in Toronto. Bryan Trottier, the Hall of Famer who played for the New York Islanders in the 1980s, will drop the puck when the team plays its first game at UBS Arena at Belmont Park tonight.
Those are famous names, but the team itself does not have a catchy name the way the Rangers and the Islanders do. It is “P.W.H.L. New York,” one of six teams in the new Professional Women’s Hockey League. So far, New York is 1-1 after splitting the first two games of the season with Toronto.
P.W.H.L. New York played the second game at the team’s other home, the Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. Our colleague Hailey Salvian of The Athletic, who has covered the nascent league, noted that the attendance was 2,152, the lowest of any P.W.H.L. game so far, a fraction of the biggest P.W.H.L. crowd to date, 13,316 at the Minnesota-Montreal game on Jan. 6.
Breaking into the New York market is a challenge for any newcomer, and UBS Arena, on the Long Island side of the Queens-Nassau border, is as close to New York City as the New York team will get.
But the league is upbeat about having the New York team divide its home games between two arenas, one close to the city, the other 90 minutes to two hours away by train. “We are able to maximize our visibility across the tristate area and bridge three different markets — Connecticut, New York City and Long Island,” Amy Scheer, the league’s senior vice president of business operations, said.
That, she said, made the New York team “unique in its ability to reach a larger potential fan base.” But there has been social media chatter about Bridgeport being too far to draw fans from the city.
Salvian told me that P.W.H.L. Boston was seen as the team to beat before the season began but that New York “has flown under the radar.”
Still, Salvian said, “New York has a lot of depth at every position.” (And Boston is 0-1 after losing its only game so far.)
Corinne Schroeder, as P.W.H.L. New York’s goalie, made 16 saves in the second period of the game in Montreal. “She kept them in the game when Toronto started pushing,” Salvian said. “She really shut the door.” Her stick is on its way to the Hall of Fame after the first shutout in the P.W.H.L.’s still-short history.
New York’s roster also includes the forward Alex Carpenter, who won silver medals at the 2014 and 2022 Winter Olympics.
The league came together in only six months, although the idea had been percolating for several years amid a feud in women’s professional ice hockey.
King’s wife, Ilana Kloss, who is the chief executive of Billie Jean King Enterprises, said that Kendall Coyne Schofield, the captain of the U.S. women’s national team, called in March 2019 and asked if King and Kloss would talk to a group of women’s hockey players. Ice hockey was not a sport either had followed closely. “I grew up in Southern California, so I had no clue about hockey,” King told me.
“I grew up in South Africa, so the only ice I saw was in a drink,” Kloss added.
But the couple offered encouragement and support. And an agreement with the players’ union last summer cleared the way for the P.W.H.L., owned by Mark Walter, the controlling owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and his wife, Kimbra.
The rain and wind from a powerful coastal storm will continue until midday. A citywide flood watch remains in effect until noon. Expect temperatures in the mid-40s. The rain will let up as the storm system moves on, but the wind will continue as clouds appear in the evening, with temperatures in the mid-30s.
In effect until Jan. 15 (Martin Luther King’s Birthday).
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The state of two states
Tuesday was State of the State day in two states, New York and New Jersey.
In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul used a substantial portion of her address to focus on crime, mental health and affordability. My colleagues Grace Ashford and Jay Root write that her approach was apparently intended to answer the concerns of a state struggling to find a balance between public safety and criminal justice.
Yesterday’s newsletter previewed themes that Hochul had outlined in advance. In her address, Hochul touted her administration’s past accomplishments and also:
called for a significant expansion of psychiatric services, including 200 new inpatient beds.
proposed a joint task force to target organized retail theft networks.
called for legislation to crack down on unlicensed cannabis vendors.
sought to revive a tax credit meant to spur the development of affordable housing.
She did not discuss the migrant crisis in detail; the word “migrant” did not appear once in the 180-page briefing book released with her address. But she told lawmakers that she would present a plan to support migrants when she delivers her annual budget proposal.
Mayor Eric Adams of New York said he was pleased with Hochul’s stated priorities. But Michael Gianaris, the deputy majority leader of the State Senate, did not even wait for the end of Hochul’s walkout song to attack her housing proposal. He called it a “developer’s dream” and complained that it lacked protections for tenants. Hochul, Adams and Gianaris are all Democrats.
Gov. Philip Murphy of New Jersey laid out only modest policy goals as he looked ahead to his final two years in office. As a second-term governor, Murphy cannot run for re-election the next time around.
My colleague Tracey Tully says that Murphy used his state-of-the-state speech to:
announce his support legislative proposals to eliminate out-of-pocket expenses for abortions and to make it easier to build affordable housing.
propose debt relief bills to help families “avoid being caught in a medical death trap.” Health-related costs are the No. 1 source of debt in the United States, according to the White House.
promise initiatives to “teach our kids the fundamentals of reading — like sounding out letters and combining them into words.” New Jersey joins a list of states with governors who support the increased use of phonics to teach reading. Hochul, in New York, is also calling for modernizing the way reading is taught.
A few years ago, I waited in an extremely long line for Shakespeare in the Park tickets. Just as they were given out, the skies opened in an unexpected downpour.
While I waited for the light to change to cross Central Park West, a woman who was with three young children and had also gotten tickets was waiting to cross as well.
When the light changed, I took the youngest child’s hand and we all crossed together.
The woman asked whether I lived in the area. When I told her I lived in Brooklyn and had decided not to go home before the show that night, she invited me to her small apartment on Amsterdam Avenue.
When we got there, she offered me a robe while she threw my clothes into her dryer. And there I sat, a complete stranger in her living room with her little ones, while she went and took a shower.
— Aliza Avital
Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Send submissions here and read more Metropolitan Diary here.
Glad we could get together here. See you tomorrow. — J.B.
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword and Spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.
Geordon Wollner contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].