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Analysis Blackhawks Opinion

The CWHL is Folding, What Does it Mean for the Future of Women’s Hockey?

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) announced in a press release that it is folding. Operations will cease starting May 1st. The reason the CWHL is folding is that it’s financially unstable.

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) announced in a press release that it is folding. Operations will cease starting May 1st. 

The reason the CWHL is folding is that it’s financially unstable.

Now, 120 women are out of a job. Olympic medalists and some of the best women hockey players in the world are not going to be able to play anymore.

A lot of people gave women’s hockey the time of day in the 2016 Olympics when the women’s hockey team won the gold medal. And again, when Brianna Decker and Hillary Knight were brought to the All-Star Game to do the challenges as an example.

The women who play professionally are an inspiration to young girls everywhere. Fan Amanda Kegley has a 12-year-old daughter who loves the CWHL and watching women play professionally.

“It makes her feel like her dreams of playing professionally can come true,” Kegley said.

A longtime women’s hockey fan, Christa Leigh, said, “I’m devastated for the young girl players who look up to them and dream of playing for those teams.”

Women’s hockey is not as advertised as men’s hockey is, but it’s just as intense of a game.

Alison Schaefer, a long time fan, said, “Women’s hockey is growing, and this is a huge setback. Especially after a seemingly strong season from the CWHL.”

This past year, there was televised coverage of the Clarkson Cup Final, the CWHL equivalent of the Stanley Cup. Over 100,000 people watched.

But it wasn’t enough.

Now, a league that offered the best of the best to compete at the highest level of their sport, cannot continue to go on.

“It puts a lot of really talented women out of a club to play with, and out of a job,” Schafer said.

The issue now is that the NWHL is the only professional women’s hockey league in North America. Women who are on the national teams rely on leagues like the CWHL to consistently play. 

Women hockey players struggle for ice time to train to begin with, especially since most women hockey players have full-time jobs that they come from to play professional hockey. Resources are already extremely limited.

There’s only so much conditioning players can do without actually playing.

This may mean the players from the CWHL go to the NWHL and other women’s leagues around the world.

“Which would crowd those leagues and push some of their players out of a place to play. I’d like to see the NWHL continue and keep growing and eventually it would be great for them to have Canadian teams,” Leigh said. “But that’s easier said than done.”

The CWHL collapsing is going to hurt. It is going to hurt the North American national teams, it’s going to hurt young girls, and it’s going to hurt the hockey world.

Image credit: Calgary Inferno – CWHL

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