Wednesday night was a big one in Lowell when the puck dropped for the first-ever regular season game of Boston's Professional Women's Hockey League team.

Boston's PWHL team — still without an official name, playing in green-and-white jerseys — played Minnesota at Lowell’s Tsongas Center, where UMass Lowell hosts hockey games.

Montana Ballard, who is 14, lives two and a half hours away in New Hampshire, but wasn't going to miss the team's first game.

“I'm really excited,” Ballard said. “My stepmom got me seasons tickets to all the home games.”

The league started regular-season play on New Year's Day between New York and Toronto, so everything is new. PWHL advisory board member Stan Kasten said there's bound to be mistakes, but he's ready to learn.

“We're going to learn which of our markets needs a little more work, needs a little more advertising, more promotion, more group sales, more promotional nights, all of which takes time,” Kasten said. “But we understand that. The most important thing we have to do is get the hockey right. And we've done that.”

Young girls in hockey jerseys stand in an arena and watch intensely. One of them had hands on her face.
Young fans react to the action as the clock winds down in the third period. PWHL Boston lost to PWHL Minnesota, 3-2. (Photo by Danielle Parhizkaran)
Boston Globe/Boston Globe via Getty Images Boston Globe

Another area the league needs to work on is merchandise and apparel, Kasten said. He admitted they're behind, but said that more is in the pipeline.

Wednesday night’s crowd had an official count of 4,012 in attendance. More than a few were wearing the sweaters and colors of the Boston Pride, the now-defunct Premier Hockey Federation team that was nixed along with the rest of that league to make way for the PWHL.

Some fans said they were hurt when previous women’s hockey leagues shut down — but they were excited to support the new team.

Charlotte Walsh, who lives in Boston and was wearing a Boston Pride jersey, she simply wants a league that will stick around.

“Women's hockey players, fans, that's all everyone has been asking for, is for something that lasts. And I really hope this lasts,” Walsh said. “I really hope that my children are watching the PWHL. And I hope it's able to expand. I hope it grows. I hope the players eventually are making nine figures, you know?”

One of the big draws for the PWHL is having all of the best players in women's hockey in one league. Fan Elena Davis, who is from Somerville, was especially excited about Boston's team captain.

“I'm a big fan of Hilary Knight, so I'm kind of glad that I got to see her play again,” Davis said. “It's nice that sort of all these household names that we've been talking about, especially for the Olympics and stuff, are kind of all in the same area now.”

Two women sit in front of a microphone. Behind them is a green and white background with a logo featuring two hockey sticks and the word Boston.
Boston Professional Women's Hockey League players Theresa Schafzahl, left, who scored the team's first goal, and team Captain Hilary Knight speak to reporters after the team's first game Jan. 3, 2023.
Esteban Bustillos GBH News

At the end of the night, Boston’s team lost — a 3-2 outcome against the visitors from Minnesota. But Knight, the team’s captain, said she was pleased with how they ended the game. And most of all, she was glad to be back on a Boston-based team. In past years, Knight played for the Pride and for the Boston Blades.

“Understanding how important visibility is and just the growth of the game and the speed and how it's evolved, it's a fantastic time to have a professional league,” Knight said. “And to be a part of the first few shifts is just — you can't really put it into words. It's so well overdue and so exciting for where it's going to go.”

The PWHL’s Boston team will be back at Tsongas Center Monday to face Ottawa.