CWHL and the NWHL

A weekly sports column from the 100 Mile Free Press

It’s funny. Before this weekend I was thinking of writing this column on when B.C. could get a professional women’s hockey team. With a team in Calgary and two teams in China in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (one team was disbanded at the end of the 2017-18 season), it seemed somewhat possible in the near future.

The Calgary Inferno, the most recent champion of the CWHL, is the most westerly team on Canadian soil in the league with nothing between them and Ontario.

The National Women’s Hockey League doesn’t have much of a westerly presence either, with the Minnesota Whitecaps being their furthest from the rest of the league’s teams on the east coast.

However, during my research, I found out there actually was a women’s hockey team based in B.C. from 2004-09 called the British Columbia Breakers that played in the Western Women’s Hockey League. The team based out of Langley folded in 2009, due to financial costs. The league itself would cease to exist.

The Breakers were terrible. They failed to register a single win in three of their seasons.

Regardless, the thought that the Breakers or another team in B.C. will return to women’s professional hockey seems further away than it did before March 31.

Just only days after the Calgary Inferno raised the Clarkson Cup, the CWHL folded citing their business model is “economically unsustainable.” It was abrupt, to say the least.

The CWHL is regarded to be the premier hockey league in women’s hockey, even though it only started doling out professional contracts in 2017-18. The NWHL has always been a professional league, but when the CWHL started paying a lot of Canadian and American Olympians joined the league.

Of course, there was an outcry on social media about the league’s decision to fold. Players and staff are suddenly out of a job, with limited positions in professional women’s hockey on the continent available.

Dani Rylan, the commissioner of the NWHL, said the league will pursue Canada’s best players but the major picture everyone should take note of is what will happen in terms of the NHL’s relationship with women’s hockey.

It’s no secret that both the NWHL and CWHL have been in discussions with the NHL in hopes of support and sponsorship for the women’s game. They were also in talks among themselves about a possible merger, with a scheduled meet this month (which is obviously not going to happen now). The NHL has always been in the position that they would only be financially supportive if there was one league.

So is it possible the CWHL sacrificed itself to make it possible? Maybe, but at a major cost.

It’s very possible there will be no professional women’s hockey in Canada for the 2019-20 season. Some of the big names will be in the NWHL, others will be in Europe. Rylan has already spoken about potential expansion next fall.

As the CWHL’s folding is a complete shutdown, it’s hard to say if any of the Canadian teams will be allowed to join the NWHL. China is extremely doubtful, while the Worchester Blades are also unlikely to be represented in the league, due to a franchise already in the Boston-area (Boston Pride).

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Category 2 open burning to be allowed in Cariboo

Category 2 open burning will be allowed again throughout the Cariboo Fire… Continue reading

Woman arrested after truck stolen in Mahood Falls

A police report from the 100 Mile House RCMP

Highway 97 closed north of Clinton

The highway has been closed due to downed hydro lines

Did you attend 108 Mile Ranch’s 50th birthday celebrations?

Did you attend the 108 Mile Ranch's 50th birthday celebrations this weekend?… Continue reading

From the archives of the 100 Mile Free Press

28 Years Ago (1991): A proposal for a $600,000 seniors housing project… Continue reading

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from B.C. furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Rising gas prices force B.C. residents to rethink summer road trips: poll

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

Most Read