Women's Hockey Players To Boycott, Want One Sustainable League
More than 200 pro women's hockey players claim they will not play in the NWHL -- or any pro league in North America -- in the coming season. Players from the NWHL and the now-defunct CWHL held a conference call last week to discuss the future of the sport, according to sources, with one of the options being to boycott any and all leagues. The players in a statement called for the creation of a “sustainable professional league for women’s hockey," adding that “having no health insurance and making as low as two thousand dollars a season means players can’t adequately train and prepare to play at the highest level.” While the NHL has made financial contributions to the women’s leagues in the past, it has declined to be further involved. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has previously stated that he did not think either the NWHL or CWHL had viable long-term business models, and that the NHL would not get further involved in women’s hockey while other leagues existed. Sources said that the players believe this will prompt the NHL to act on that front. The players in the statement call for a "long-term viable professional league that will showcase the greatest product of women’s professional hockey in the world.” The NWHL did not have a comment at presstime but said it would make a statement later today about the announcement, according to a league spokesperson (Ian Thomas, THE DAILY).
UNITED FOR A CAUSE: U.S. RW Hilary Knight, who played last year in the CWHL, said, “We firmly believe we’re doing the right thing for our sport and that when we do play, we will do so in a league that embodies the values of our game." TSN's Bob McKenzie notes members of the U.S. and Canadian national teams met prior to the '19 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Finland last month to "begin the dialogue that led to the decision to shutter the women’s game next season." Knight was "heartened that the bitter rivals could put aside their nationalistic feelings for the overall good of the women’s pro game." Canada C Brianne Jenner: "We know that our power comes from being united. We’re all in this together. We have a common goal." Knight: "We’re willing to figure out things as we go. We don’t know what the future holds or what it will look like, but we’re confident this is the right thing for the sport" (TSN.ca, 5/2).
NWHL NOT THE ANSWER: U.S. LW Kendall Coyne Schofield played last season with the NWHL's Minnesota Whitecaps, but she said that the league has "repeatedly shown it is not a viable, long-term option for players." She said it ''does not showcase the best product of women's hockey.'' Coyne Schofield added that the "business model, salaries, health insurance and the treatment of the players are all factors" in her stance (AP, 5/2).