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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: International players in the CWHL

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Plus les Canadiennes made a bunch of moves and Team Canada and USA U-18s play at Lake Placid this weekend.

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Nachi Fujimoto in her Boston Blades uniform during a game. An unknown Calgary Inferno player stands behind her.
Nachi Fujimoto (#3) from Japan was traded this week from the Boston Blades to the Montreal Canadiennes.
Dave Holland / CWHL

Article of the Week

Growing the Game in China: International Transfers and the Rules of Expansion - The Ice Garden
ed note: We decided to turn this one over to someone who knows more than either of us on this subject. Our guest contributor this week is Kirsten Whelan, who has followed Hockey Canada and the CWHL for over six years and has researched Hockey Canada meeting minutes dating back to 2007.

This week's article of the week attempts to tackle massive questions surrounding Canadian Women's Hockey League policy, Hockey Canada regulations, and the CWHL's expansion into China. The piece initially suggested that the league may have been violating Hockey Canada rules surrounding import limits in order to bolster the rosters of the well-funded Chinese teams. It has since been altered to more accurately reflect the rules for inter-branch play, but given the complex nature of the subject and how difficult some of this information is to find, I was asked to try to break down the process.

To start with, Hockey Canada By-law B7-A states that “[a] Team is deemed to be under the jurisdiction of the Branch in the geographic area in which it plays its home games”. Hockey Canada deals with Branches, or provincial governing bodies, within Canada, and with federations outside of Canada. This means that in interactions with Hockey Canada, a team based in Manitoba is under the jurisdiction of Hockey Manitoba and a team based in Minnesota is under the jurisdiction of USA Hockey.

Related: Hockey Canada 2016-17 Articles, By-laws and Regulations

The CWHL is administered by the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association (OWHA), an Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) subsidiary member that governs women’s hockey in the province of Ontario. The OWHA is bound to administer its leagues, including the CWHL, in accordance with Hockey Canada regulations.

In order for a team based in one Hockey Canada Branch to operate in a league administered by another Hockey Canada Branch, the team must receive permission from both its Branch and the league’s Branch, as well as from the Hockey Canada Board of Directors (BoD) [By-law B7B]. As a league with teams based in three different Hockey Canada Branches (Hockey Alberta, Hockey Quebec, and the OWHA/OHF), this is a process that the CWHL has been engaging in from its onset.

A motion from the Hockey Canada Female Council presented at the 2012 Hockey Canada Annual General Meeting, requesting approval for inter-branch play among teams from Quebec, Alberta, and USA Hockey in the OWHA-administered CWHL.

When the Boston Blades joined the league in 2010-11, things got a little more complicated. No Hockey Canada (read: Canada-based) team can operate outside of Hockey Canada’s jurisdiction without permission from the Hockey Canada BoD and the Branch in whose territory the team is located [By-law B9]. For Canadian-based teams to play in Boston, then, they each require approval from the BoD and from their home Branches. At the same time, permission from USA Hockey, the BoD of Hockey Canada, and the OWHA is required in order for the Boston-based team to operate in the CWHL [By-law B10].

The same process through By-laws B9-10 is necessary in order to integrate the Kunlun Red Star and the Vanke Rays, which are under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Ice Hockey Association (CIHA). Motions to approve inter-jurisdiction play in accordance with these by-laws must be submitted to and approved by the Hockey Canada BoD each year in order for the CWHL to operate across provincial and national borders.

While the addition of the Kunlun Red Star was announced at a press conference on June 5, the second expansion team of the summer, the Vanke Rays, is all but formally announced. Given that the press conference announcing the Red Star took place just over a week after Hockey Canada’s 2017 Spring Congress (May 26-28), it’s likely that the team was approved then. With the seemingly late addition of the Vanke Rays into the fold and BoD meetings taking place between congresses, here’s a theory: Perhaps the lack of an official announcement from the league isn’t due to shoddy communications, but because it's following federation rules and awaiting formal approval.

The article also suggests that Chinese teams having different import limits than Canadian-based teams (since Chinese teams are under the CIHA's rules, not Hockey Canada's) would be unfair to CWHLPA members, but it's worth reiterating that these are club teams, not national teams. There's nothing inherently unjust about a team in China having several players from elsewhere. Keep in mind that compared to tens of thousands of female hockey players in Canada and the USA, only a few hundred women are registered in China. If they were held to only six players from the most advanced and well-resourced hockey programs in the world while everyone else could ice a full team of them, that would be unfair.

And, as Nafio points out: Players with the Chinese teams will be CWHLPA members, too.

The CWHL was founded by a players’ movement spearheaded by Sami Jo Small and led by a group including Ally Fox, Kathleen Kauth, Jayna Hefford, Mandy Cronin, Jennifer Botterill, Joanne Eustace, Kim McCullough, and Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux in the 2007 offseason as the original NWHL was falling apart. The initial goal was simply to ensure athletes a place to play during what was expected to be a one-year hiatus as the NWHL regrouped. Somehow it has endured and evolved (not without some growing pains!) into an international entity. As the league enters its 11th season it is facing new challenges its founders might not have envisioned. Covering a growing league with a sparsely documented history requires that we all ensure we get the narrative — be it positive or negative — right.

CWHL

Les Canadiennes acquire Emerance Maschmeyer - Eyes On The Prize
The team announces several trades ahead of the CWHL Draft

Furies acquire Amanda Makela from Montréal - Pension Plan Puppets
The deal completes the Peroff trade from 2015

Previewing the Prospects: Top CWHL Draftees at Each Position - Canadian Women's Hockey League
Get yourself set for the 2017 CWHL Draft with a look at some of the top players at each position who will have new hockey homes on Sunday.

Inferno GM Kristen Hagg Talks On Her New Role And Expectations
After the 2015-16 CWHL season, Kristen Hagg stepped off the ice to become the Calgary Inferno's assistant general manager.

Section V Goaltender Part of Hockey’s Class of 2021 | Sports Features | ithaca.com
Generally we don’t include news on players pre-college except on the national U18 teams, but this article includes an interesting tidbit: Cornell will be playing Shenzhen Vanke Oct 13th.

International hockey

International Exhibitions Good Preview For Olympic Women's Hockey
Fans of women’s hockey have whipped themselves into a frenzied state as international and professional teams prepare for their seasons which will commence this fall.

Something to prove
One of the winningest goaltenders in NCAA history, Ann-Renée Desbiens wants to bring that success to centralization and earn her Olympic spot

Toyota To Be Presenting Sponsor of The Time is Now Tour
USA Hockey announced today that Toyota will serve as the presenting sponsor of The Time is Now Tour featuring the U.S. Women’s National Team.

IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship in Dmitrov
Venue and dates for event in Russia known

2017 Under-18 Series
The three-game series vs. Canada will take place in Lake Placid, New York, Aug. 17-20.

Hockey Canada selects 24 players for women’s under-18 series in Lake Placid
Three-game series against American U18 team runs Aug. 17-20

South Shore skaters hoping to represent USA Hockey in series vs. Canada
Lily Farden of Hingham and Casey O'Brien of Milton, who played together at Noble & Greenough, are among 31 players invited to Lake Placid, New York, for USA Hockey's U18 Women's Hockey Festival.

Women's hockey: Bulldogs' Stalder earns Swiss honor | Duluth News Tribune
Former Minnesota Duluth forward Lara Stalder was named the Woman of the Year last week at the 2017 Swiss Ice Hockey Awards.

NWHL

A Critical 3rd Season For NWHL On The Horizon
Last season, the NWHL made the tough decision to cut salaries in order to ensure that the league would have a future.

Get Out Of Town | A Look At The NWHL Out-Of-Market Games
As the league looks to forge ahead, out-of-market games might be a trial run for NWHL expansion down the road.

Behind the Mask: Catching up with Katie Fitzgerald and the Chicago Bandits - The Ice Garden
Fitzgerald continues her career of highway robbery, joins Chicago Bandits' staff for the summer.

Meet the New Coach: Ryan Equale - The Ice Garden
Ryan Equale is looking to rebuild a new-look Connecticut Whale

Brickner And Faber Return To Anchor Connecticut Whale
Players have trickled in ahead of the third season for the Connecticut Whale.

Minnesota Whitecaps

Gophers Add Whitecaps to 2017-18 Slate :: University of Minnesota Official Athletic Site
Minnesota will host the Minnesota Whitecaps in an exhibition game at Ridder Arena on Friday, Jan. 5.

NCAA

Keady Joins Women's Ice Hockey Staff - GoTerriers.com
Liz Keady has been named an assistant coach of the Boston University women's ice hockey team, head coach Brian Durocher announced on Tuesday.

UMD Head coaches Crowell and Wiese sign 3-yr contract extensions
University of Minnesota Duluth head women's hockey coach Maura Crowell and head football coach Curt Wiese have both signed three-year contract extensions that will keep them on the Bulldog staff through the 2021-22 and 2020-21 seasons, respectively.

Badgers women's hockey: Claudia Kepler, Baylee Wellhausen named Wisconsin's 2017-18 captains | chippewa.com
Kepler, a transfer from Ohio State, is the first person named Badgers captain before she has played a game for the team.

2017 NWHL Draft Preview | Goalies
Today, FanRag Sports dives into the goalie class for this year's NWHL draft.

10 greatest College Hockey America freshman seasons
Pucks and Recreation ranks the top all-time College Hockey America freshman seasons by players representing the league's six current member institutions.

SDHL

Kaitlyn Tougas takes off for Sweden - The Ice Garden
Former Thunder player talks about her decision to head for the Swedish women’s league

AWIHL

AWIHL news: 11 August 2017 | Ice Hockey News Australia
The Melbourne Ice have announced the retirement of head coach Jeremy Muir after two years in the position.

AWIHL news: 15 August 2017 | Ice Hockey News Australia
The Rush have announced the signing of American Ashley Pelky for the upcoming 2017-18 season.