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Volume 26 No. 202
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Bettman's Buy-In, League Format Would Be Key To "Women's NHL"

Brand affiliation with NHL clubs and the best players participating are top priorities for women's hockey
Photo: NWHL
Brand affiliation with NHL clubs and the best players participating are top priorities for women's hockey
Photo: NWHL
Brand affiliation with NHL clubs and the best players participating are top priorities for women's hockey
Photo: NWHL

Professional women's hockey players have been pushing for the NHL to sanction a league, and were it to come to fruition, it "would likely feature an Original Six-type format, with only a handful or half-dozen teams at its inception," according to Katie Strang of THE ATHLETIC. Even if the NWHL "were to fold, it should not be expected that the NHL would simply conglomerate the same amount of players as were playing in the CWHL and the NWHL combined." Teams in a potential "WNHL" also would "likely be clustered in the Northeast region, so as to limit travel and keep costs manageable." This "would align well with the Original Six format." A brand affiliation with NHL clubs is a "top priority," as well as having "the best players in the world participate." The league "would have to take a long-term approach, investing resources and the appropriate amount of time." For a women's league to work, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "must first decide that this is a venture the league is willing to take on and, realistically, he will likely have to do so knowing that it won’t necessarily be a money-maker, at least at the beginning." Former MLSE CEO & President Richard Peddie said Bettman and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly "have to get behind it, do a lot of modeling ... The commissioner needs to really be the one" (THEATHLETIC.com, 5/13).