Since millennium, no city in the American sporting conversation holds the same level of success as Boston. Highlighted by four World Series championships, six Super Bowl titles, plus an NBA title in 2008 and the 2011 Stanley Cup, the city’s sensational sporting women have also contributed to this lasting legacy.
Enjoying the historic feat of becoming the first franchise to win consecutive Isobel Cup championships, and the first to win three overall, the Boston Pride have earned a place among the pantheon of Beantown greats. Running parallel to the Pride, the Boston Renegades, winners of five Women’s Football Alliance National Championships, captured a title in 2021.
Among the celebrations for the Pride’s historic Cup triumph in 2022, a show of support involved a tremendous gesture by the Boston Red Sox. Invited to participate in a pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park, including the exhilaration of stepping onto the field, such recognition entailed a strong sense of civic pride.
Wearing personalized Red Sox jerseys, highlighted by each member of the Pride having their number adorning the back, certainly a cherished sporting artifact unto itself, it added to the major league feeling. For Mary Parker, who played NCAA hockey with Boston University, her sentiments regarding the reaction of said jerseys, expressing gratitude and elation, certainly reflected the delight of her teammates.
“It was incredibly exciting and very generous of the Red Sox to provide the jersey with our names and number on the back. We were all thrilled for the jerseys. It was a really nice way to begin an unforgettable evening at the Red Sox game!”
Although not all members of the Pride roster were available, those that attended circled the pitcher’s mound as team captain and PHF all-time leading scorer Jillian Dempsey, along with goaltender Katie Burt, participated in the ceremonial first pitch.
Undeniably, the prestige of the first pitch marked a tremendous continuation of momentum for a jubilant Dempsey. Enjoying the opportunity to be an All-Star twice in one season, Dempsey served as a captain in the PHF mid-season classic. Additionally, she skated for the Jacksonville Icemen at the 2022 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic.
The only player in Boston Pride history to be part of all three Isobel Cup championship teams, Dempsey enjoyed another unique brush with history. Accepting the Cup in her role as captain, it marked the last function for outgoing PHF commissioner Tyler Tumminia. Synonymous with success in Boston professional women’s ice hockey, the chance to crossover and grace the field at Fenway Park marked a cherished experience for the distinguished Dempsey,
“It was such an incredible night at the Red Sox game! Throwing out the first pitch in front of a packed crowd at Fenway was such a memorable experience. I had the butterflies, but it was very cool. The Sox even had a comeback victory against Toronto.”
Having enjoyed the privilege one year prior, when the Red Sox also honored the Pride for their 2021 Cup triumph, it marked another proud linkage between Parker and Dempsey. Worth noting, both were teammates with the Harvard Crimson during the 2012-13 season. Holding a profound gratitude for Fenway, jubilant at the opportunity to return for a second consecutive year, Parker remains captivated by its allure.
“Stepping on the field at Fenway was amazing! It was a beautiful April evening and so exciting to be on the field. Fenway Park is an iconic stadium with so much rich history. Having our team line up behind the pitching mound as teammates, Jill Dempsey and Katie Burt, threw out the first pitch was a very special experience. It is an incredible moment that our team will always remember and be grateful for.
The Red Sox also provided a wonderful experience for our team after last years championship win as well, where I was fortunate to throw out the first pitch with teammate Mallory Souliotis. It was such a special experience!”
With the Isobel Cup in hand, gracing the green grass of Fenway encompassed feelings of celebration and relevance. Especially for the players that grew up in New England, such as Souliotis, who juggles ice hockey with an empowering career as a senior associate scientist, Fenway certainly took on the sense of a second home.
On this day, it marked a personal intersection, one where Souliotis is both, sporting heroine and a fan too. Having once enjoyed the novelty of a photograph with the World Series trophy, she found tremendous fulfillment in the opportunity to hoist the Isobel Cup proudly aloft her winning shoulders, with the iconic Green Monster in the background. The moment, captured on camera, quickly immortalized on social media, marked a treasured highlight for a jubilant Souliotis, raised a Red Sox supporter,
“It was awesome to bring Izzy to Fenway! As a Boston native and long-time Red Sox fan, sharing our team’s championship with the fans and the city of champions was absolutely amazing.
Stepping onto the grass and dirt at Fenway Park was just incredible. I love my Boston sports and it has meant the world to me to have so many people’s support. Getting to bring another Championship home to Boston is always a great way to cap off a season.”
Prior to the Fenway Park festivities, Souliotis and her Pride teammates enjoyed the opportunity to be guests of the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden. Akin to the Red Sox treatment, the Isobel Cup winners also received personalized Bruins jerseys. Elated at the opportunity to gain recognition from two such hallowed franchises, representing the potential for the Pride to enjoy an equal place as sporting heroes, their awareness continuing to grow, it marked a special occasion for Souliotis.
Smiles all around, enjoying the game from a luxury box, the atmosphere of celebration quickly took on a heartwarming element. Encountering a devoted hockey fan, despite being wheelchair bound, refusing to accept it as an obstacle, her presence made a profound impression on the Pride players, demonstrating how the essence of heroic inspiration can be reciprocated between athlete and admirer.
“The recognition from both the Red Sox and Bruins was wicked awesome (pun intended). It is great to get their support and recognition, because there are still many people that do not know we have women’s professional hockey in Boston. Although that number is dwindling, their exposure and reach has been great to help introduce new fans to our team and league.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”