Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay's Boquist making mark with Toronto Six in NWHL

Brooke Boquist, a 24-year-old from Thunder Bay, has joined the Toronto Six for their debut season in the National Women’s Hockey League as the first Canadian team to join the professional league.

The 24-year-old scored a goal in the team's 2-1 win Tuesday, its first victory in the league

Brooke Boquist, a 24-year-old from Thunder Bay, plays for the Toronto Six in the National Women's Hockey League. (Supplied by HockeyShots Media)

Hockey has taken Brooke Boquist from Thunder Bay to the United States, overseas to Sweden, and now back to representing a Canadian team in a professional hockey league.

The 24-year-old from Thunder Bay has joined the Toronto Six for their debut season in the National Women's Hockey League as the first Canadian team to join the league.

Boquist played minor hockey in Thunder Bay, including suiting up for the Thunder Bay Queens program, before heading to the United States for high school hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota and then playing collegiately for the Providence Friars.

After two years playing in Sweden, Boquist received an offer to join the Six and decided to move closer to home.

"I think it's a great opportunity for women in sports and growing the game," she said, adding she looked up to players on the Canadian women's national team, like fellow Thunder Bay product and two-time Olympic gold medalist Haley Irwin, when she was growing up. 

"We're not only doing this for us, but we're doing it for the generations to come and paving the way, hopefully giving the younger girls an opportunity to play professional hockey when they grow up and giving them something to aspire and strive for."

The six-team NWHL is the only professional women's hockey league in North America, following the folding of the Canadian Women's Hockey League in 2019.

After a pair of weekend defeats, Boquist scored in Toronto's 2-1 win Tuesday over the Boston Pride for the expansion squad's first victory.

While she is representing Toronto on the ice, the team won't be playing games in the city. The league is spending the campaign season operating in a bubble in Lake Placid, N.Y.

While Boquist said she's not used to the restrictions of the bubble, which include not being able to eat meals with teammates, she's excited for the opportunity. 

"It's awesome to get back on the ice," she said. "We're lucky during these times to be able to even play. I think everyone of us who's here playing in the bubble is very grateful to be here."

The season will feature  a round-robin schedule, with each team facing off once against every other squad before the top four advance to the Isobel Cup playoffs.

The Six (1-1-1) close out their regular season slate on Thursday with a game against the Buffalo Beauts, followed by a Saturday matchup with the Connecticut Whale.