TopOfTheCircle.com

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Dec. 12, 2015 — A two-pronged war on ice …

The National Women’s Hockey League is a women’s semi-pro league that lasted from 1999 to 2006. Or, it’s a first stab at an American professional league that started in 2015.

Herein is the complex current history of groups of women looking to create a league structure to benefit themselves and to get ready for international competition.

The old NWHL was primarily a Canadian-based league, with teams clustered in Quebec and in Ontario, with a circuit out west that eventually became the Western Women’s Hockey League. But the two groups dissolved together and became the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which currently has five teams.

Some of these five teams have received help from the NHL clubs in their cities, to the point where the Montreal Canadiens allowed the Montreal Stars to rebrand themselves as Les Canadiennes.

Meanwhile, the old NWHL name was snapped up by a rival four-team league that started playing in the United States this year. The league has structure as well as aspirations on becoming a full-fledged professional circuit once sponsorship dollars are identified.

Two of the new NWHL teams are in New York: the Buffalo Beauts and the New York Riveters. Another, the Connecticut Whale, received the blessing of Howard Baldwin Jr. to take the former name of the Hartford Wolf Pack for the women’s team which plays in Stamford.

But it’s that fourth team — and another CWHL team in the same geographical area — that is going to be the focal point for the hope of people hoping that women’s ice hockey will grow outside of its New England and Midwestern and Canadian bastions.

More on that tomorrow.

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1 Comment»

[…] women’s leagues have each been showcasing their brand of ice hockey to mid-sized audiences. As we noted last year, the NWHL and CWHL are two entirely separate entities. The leagues do share one market, however: […]


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