Sources: NWHL Looking To Expand To Canada As Soon As Next Season
The NWHL is looking to expand to Canada and could have a team in the Greater Toronto Area "as early as next season," according to sources cited by Kristina Rutherford of SPORTSNET.ca. This season "marks the first in more than a decade that professional women's hockey doesn't exist" in Canada following the collapse of the CWHL. The NWHL expanding into the country is "looking more possible" with the arrival of new league investor Andy Scurto, who has "joined a stable of more than 20 NWHL investors." Scurto "led and recently completed a round of equity funding for the league." A Canadian franchise would bring the NWHL to six teams (SPORTSNET.ca, 11/14). In Boston, Marisa Ingemi notes the league has been "looking for more independent ownership with the success of the Boston Pride" under new owner Miles Arnone so far this season. Sources said that the NWHL has "thought of Canada since at least last season." Thursday's funding announcement "at least creates the hope of something like that happening sooner than later" (BOSTON HERALD, 11/15).
PROVING ITS WORTH: The AP's John Wawrow noted the NWHL was "able to add investors despite losing the backing of a majority of the world's top players" in the offseason. More than 200 players in May "pledged not to compete in North America this season." The players "formed the Professional Women's Hockey Players' Association to push for establishing a league with what they said needed to have a viable, sustainable economic model." NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan in September "vowed her league wasn't going anywhere, and added the NWHL was proving it could be viable without the NHL." The league said that the new funding will be "directed toward building the league's infrastructure, enhancing player development and attracting more investors, including team owners" (AP, 11/14).