As far as breaking news, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League has flown relatively under the radar this season. However, as they are want to do, the league waited until their All-Star Game fantasy draft in Toronto to drop a bombshell.
Draft emcee Sami Jo Small announced Friday night the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) will partner the CWHL going forward.
Hannah Bevis of The Ice Garden was the first to report the news. Puck Daddy confirmed the announcement with Sasky Stewart, Director of Communications and Marketing for the CWHL.
Bevis also reported the other new league partner Boston Pizza — which is Canadian and not in Boston — but that’s less of a game changer.
In women’s professional hockey’s battle for dollars, the NWHL and CWHL have not found a partner in the NHL. As the league told Puck Daddy before, they are not going to pick sides between the two.
The NHLPA is not beholden to the actions of the NHL or its member teams. As an independent organization, they can do whatever they want with the money collected through dues paid by the players.
When reached for comment NHLPA spokesperson Jonathan Weatherdon stated, “We are looking forward to working with the CWHL as both organizations share a commitment to growing the game of hockey.”
The two sides will release further information about the partnership soon.
From a ‘big picture’ perspective this is another huge get for the CWHL. The league already has partnerships with the Montreal Canadiens, Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Once again they’re attaching themselves to an organization with sizeable assets, not just in dollars but in name recognition, too; further solidifying their commitment to paying players starting with the 2017-18 season.