Minnesota Whitecaps make statement in first-ever game

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Saturday marked an historic moment in Minnesota sports as the state’s first professional women's hockey team took the ice for their first game at TRIA Rink.

This may be the inaugural season for the Minnesota Whitecaps, but they came out to make Minnesota proud, challenging the league's defending champions, the Metropolitan Riveters.

The sold-out arena sat in anticipation as the puck dropped in downtown St. Paul.

“I think it’s only something you can dream of, and it was pretty special for it to come true today," said Whitecaps forward Hannah Brandt, one of the many Minnesotans on the team.

Fresh faces pressed up against the glass to capture a piece of history.

“I just want to jump out on the ice, and if they’re losing I want to help them win,” fan Gisela Cano said. 

It was a warm welcome punctuated by crisp, aggressive play.

“Minnesota Nice is off the ice,” Brandt said. “On the ice, Minnesota Tough, I’d say.”

Fans hung on to every moment and every play, inspiring the next generation along the way.

“It makes me wanna play when I grow up,” Cano said.

“Seeing it actually happen is another step for women’s rights and seeing that I could possibly be this,” fan Dorthy Kearney added.

The Whitecaps defeated the Riveters 4-0, all the while leaving an impression beyond just a game.

“They have something to strive for and I think that’s probably the coolest thing in all of this, that little girls can dream to play professional hockey,” Brandt said.

The Whitecaps play on Sunday at 2 p.m. to another sold-out crowd.