The Boston Blades are coming back for the 2016-17 season.
In a post on the team's Instagram account, General Manager Krista Patronick confirmed the team's return, saying that they've "begun the process of looking to improve our organization for next season."
After a difficult off-season gutted the 2015 Clarkson Cup winning team, it was uncertain how the team would bounce back this year. The Blades got a new coach, a new GM and 20 new players on their 25 skater roster. Though there were uncertain expectations of the team this year, it's doubtful that many expected the team to have just one win to this point in the season.
As if sensing this uncertainty, Patronick wrote the letter to assuage any doubts about the upcoming year.
"Make no mistake - the Bladies will be back."
Yesterday, Patronick said the team has received "an outpouring of support" from volunteers, fans and the women's hockey community. In addition, despite under-performing, support from the CWHL never wavered.
"The CWHL always has been and still is committed to having a team in Boston, and building a great place to play for women in the United States," Patronick said.
For the off-season, Patronick wrote that the team is "actively looking at our rink, recruiting, and our marketing efforts" as areas in which to "improve our organization."
After calling UMass Boston home last season, the team moved west to the New England Sports Center in Marlborough. Moving away from the city has clearly impacted attendance, so it wouldn't be surprising if the team looks to move back to the Boston area next year.
Another possibility could be the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell. When the Blades first announced the schedule earlier this year, the team was set to play just one game in Lowell. Since then, they rescheduled two additional games to the arena, a pretty good sign that they like playing there.
One the ice, the Blades' offensive troubles seem to be the most likely target for off-season moves, as well as retaining Canadian National Team veterans Genevieve Lacasse and Tara Watchorn.
Whatever the off-season brings, Patronick is ready to make the team better.
"For me personally, this year was a huge learning experience and I am excited to take all of what I learned and work hard this off-season to make improvements," she said.
"The Blades will be moving onward and upward."