Wickenheiser Believes NWHL Must Fold To Progress Women's Hockey
Maple Leafs Assistant Dir of Player Development and Hockey HOFer Hayley Wickenheiser said that for women's professional hockey to move forward in the wake of the CWHL folding in May, the NWHL "must fold and allow for a single circuit to take hold," according to Ryan Dixon of SPORTSNET.ca. Speaking at the PrimeTime Sports Management Conference in Toronto yesterday, Wickenheiser said that she had a "good conversation" with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman earlier in the week. Wickenheiser: "I do think the NHL has a plan and I think they want to support the game. It's not the NHL that's holding professional women's hockey back, it's the current league that exists (the NWHL) that, quite frankly, won't fold and needs to fold for the right reasons." She added, "When we get the best players in the world in a four-to-six-team league, that's going to be really good hockey." Also at the conference yesterday was Sami Jo Small, who was GM of the now-defunct CWHL Toronto Furies. She said, "What is going on right now in women's hockey is OK: It's OK to have different opinions, it's OK to fight, it's OK for that to play out on the national stage because it allows women's hockey to be talked about and women's sport to be talked about. There's going to be this amazing, great league that comes out at the end, (but) we're going to have a couple years of a pretty rough ride" (SPORTSNET.ca, 11/20).