Jan 6, 2024; St. Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota forward Taylor Heise (27) is introduced before the game against Montreal in a PWHL ice hockey game at XCel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports | Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

PWHL Minnesota hoisted the first-ever Walter Cup as PWHL champions, beating Boston, 4-1, in the deciding game 5 of the finals.

Taylor Heise, who had the first goal of the game and followed that up with an assist, was named the tournament MVP. The MVP trophy is named for Ilana Kloss, the former pro tennis player and wife of Billie Jean King. The two are investors in the league.

It’s been a remarkable season for the Professional Women’s Hockey League. What was eventually called the “Premier Hockey League” floundered a bit after removing the word “women” from the name of the league. It also created a trans-athlete policy that required no medical transition to compete. That made no sense for a pro league.

When a bunch of women’s pro hockey players broke off with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association, they began forming partnerships that led to the PWHL.

With only six teams in the Northern U.S. and Southern Canada, along with the Mark Walter Group and BJK Enterprises, the league quickly exploded.

For years, women have said they simply need investment, media coverage and broadcasting and people would find and embrace women’s sports. That’s what happened, with attendance records immediately broken.

It’s also great to see the league featuring various out gay and lesbian athletes.

Now the league is being smartly cautious. Over-expansion for any business can spell doom. Heck, right now the clubs don’t even have nicknames.

But when the market is right, and there are smart opportunities, the league will expand. It’s already hosting games between current teams in other markets, to test them out.

Until then, Minnesota will get ready to defend its league title in the 2025 season.