About Dani, Founder of The National Women's Hockey League
Dani Rylan is the Founder and Commissioner of the National Women's Hockey League. Rylan launched the NWHL in April of 2015 with aspirations of growing the landscape of women's hockey across the globe, and within its first year the NWHL has grown exponentially, igniting an interest in women’s hockey and has attracted the attention of major media outlets worldwide. Rylan was named to ESPN’s IMPACT 25 of 2015, an event help annually to recognize the women making the biggest impact on their sport and the society in which they live. In June 2016, Fast Company recognized Rylan as one the “Top 100 Most Creative People in 2016”. Prior to founding the NWHL, Rylan’s hockey career culminated at Northeastern University where she obtained her Master's degree in Sports Management and served as the captain of the hockey team. Rylan also worked for the NHL Network. She has always possessed an entrepreneurial spirit and is a passionate business owner. Rylan has a track record of turning ideas into real businesses, and she enjoys the finding creative solutions to challenging business issues.
Rylan launched “Hydration Nation” (a bottling business near Fenway Park) while at Northeastern to earn extra income during the summer. Once the semester and hockey started in September, she would need to find a job on top of being a full-time student athlete. Between May and August 2011, Rylan turned enough profits with Hydration Nation to pay her way through graduate school. From that moment forward she has been a serial entrepreneur and passionate business owner.
Rylan moved to New York to work for the NHL Network. A few months into the job the 2012 lock-out commenced and her position was put on hold until the NHL season resumed. Eager for the chance to bet on herself and control her own future, Rylan found an empty retail space in East Harlem, conducted her own market study, and decided to open a coffee shop. Remodeling costs were too expensive so she completed a vast majority of the remodeling work herself. She literally built her own business from the ground up, and in October 2012, “Rise & Grind” opened for business. She worked every shift from open to close until she dialed in her business model and turned a profit. She could then hire employees to manage the day-to-day operations. The following year, Rylan was ready to start her next venture and combo her passion for business with her love of hockey. On deck — a professional women’s hockey league.