The Battle For Women’s Hockey

“A gender lineā€¦ helps to keep women not on a pedestal, but in a cage.”~U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

For the past two decades, the rise of women’s professional ice hockey has continued to soar. Until the last two months, the future seem to be going in the right direction. Then, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) folded.

The CWHL was founded in 2007 with the goal to grow the women’s game of hockey. The women’s game despite hockey is a sport and there should be no gender line. Having said that, the CWHL exceeded its goal and later the NWHL was reformed in 2015. Women hockey players have had the opportunity to experience the thrill of winning championships (Clarkson Cup) and participating in the NHL All-Star game since the inception of the CWHL.

Now, the world of women’s ice hockey is questioning itself. It should. The main question, and the reason the CWHL folded, is sustainability. The next question should be how, or even if it should, a women’s hockey league align itself with the NHL or any member teams.

Under the current working structure, the CWHL felt it could not maintain itself under its current business model.

A sustainable league is one that has the proper format to not only survive but thrive within the next century. It takes strong leadership and the right management of resources to grow a team especially a league.

That means acquiring the right partnerships, sponsorships and television rights for the league. It, also, means he players need to have a way to hold the league accountable for its management practices as well as a way to protect themselves financially, secure proper healthcare, and find beneficial career and marketing opportunities. Both the league and the players need to see that their operations function in a manner that connects to its fan base plus protects the environment and sets an example for society.

The athletes from the CWHL and a few from the NWHL have taken the first steps in forming a players union:

There are 200 women who have participated in either the CWHL, NWHL or both who have decided not to play this upcoming season based upon the first question. That significant because the quality of play will diminish. Further, it should make the NWHL consider whether it is operating under lightweight “indentured servitude” principles since it does not offer healthcare and pays some players $2000 for a season of work (practice plus games).

Then, there’s the question of the women’s male counterparts role in a new league’s sustainability yet to be answered. But the big question, today, is how to do we pave the correct path to make women’s hockey last?

to be continued . . . .

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