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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: The CWHL keeps its promise

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It’s payday for CWHL players and we couldn’t be happier.

Charline Labonté receives her $1000 cheque after being named MVP of the 2017 Clarkson Cup playoffs.
CWHL players will now get money for regular season play in addition to existing bonuses like this one for Clarkson Cup MVP.
Chris Tanouye / CWHL

Story of the week

For a story as great as this, that people have been waiting for so long, we wanted to get our first reactions out of the way before giving you a more thoughtful take.

Nafio: I think the first thing I want to say is congratulations to Sami Jo Small - possibly the only active player who was on the ice for that first season (forgive me if I’m missing someone, but among GTA players she’s definitely the last. 10 years have passed and the “temporary solution while the original NWHL re-sets” has finally becoming a paying job.

The CWHL isn’t the first league to do it, and the pay might be only a token amount for most, but I can’t comprehend how huge it must feel to those players.

Annie: Despite my initial, giddy reaction of texting “BIG MONEY!!!!” to a bunch of my friends, CWHL players will not be making a lot of money—between $2,000 and $10,000, depending on seniority. [We’ll have a piece coming out soon examining the complexities that need to be accounted for in the CWHL’s pay structure, so stay tuned for that.] Playing in the CWHL will still not serve as a single source of income, but going into its eleventh season, the league has accomplished a goal they’ve worked at for the better part of a decade. While the conservative nature of the CWHL’s planning has frustrated some (including me, at times), they’re the longest-lasting North American women’s league for a reason.

One point that has been mostly overlooked and is in fact included only in the New York Times piece is this:

...the league also agreed to increase budgets for hiring coaches and general managers and for grass-roots initiatives in each of the league’s cities.

In the Athletic, former CWHL player Karolina Urban also points out:

The stipend is on top of money they were already receiving for meals on the road (which will be going up to this year as well) and equipment (helmet, gloves and pants). However, this year the players will also receive sticks as well.

So not only are the players getting paid, the infrastructure surrounding them is increasing. This is fundamental to sustainability. The less the players have to spend on the basics of being a hockey player, the more likely they are to stick around an extra year or two and play. And to grow the league, to be able to increase pay year by year, the CWHL needs to spend the money needed to recruit and retain smart, talented people.

There are still a lot of questions to be answered—what will the payment scheme look like, in detail? How much of this money is generated from the CWHL’s relationship with its new Chinese clubs, and how much comes from other sources, such as sponsorships or ticket revenue? What does the league’s plan for future development, and hopefully increased pay, look like? These questions, and more like them, will be discussed over the upcoming season by us and by others. Right now, it’s important to take a moment and celebrate what the CWHL has achieved—they are now, in every way, a professional women’s hockey league. That has to feel good to all of the women who’ve poured blood, sweat, and tears into this league over the past ten years, who’ve spent time and energy and money to build a league that would someday reach this point.

A reminder one way you can help continue to pay CWHL players is by buying season tickets, which went on sale yesterday.

CWHL

Canadian Women's Hockey League will begin paying its players - The Globe and Mail
Revenue largely attributable to two Chinese expansion teams will finally allow the CWHL to give its players salaries

Women’s Hockey League Will Pay Players for First Time - The New York Times
Players in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League will receive a stipend ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.

Karolina Urban: Pay for CWHL players is about more than just the money – The Athletic
I still remember my first time watching Cammi Granato, a former U.S. Olympic team gold medalist, playing in Memorial Arena in Kamloops in 2002.

Paid to play: CWHL introduces salaries ahead of league’s 11th season | CTV Calgary News
The Canadian Women’s Hockey League has announced it will provide financial compensation to its players for the first team in league history as the start of the 2017-2018 season approaches.

Commentaires d'Ann-Sophie Bettez et de Caroline Ouellette sur la rémunération des joueuses des Canadiennes | ICI.Radio-Canada.ca
Commentaires d'Ann-Sophie Bettez et de Caroline Ouellette sur la rémunération des joueuses des Canadiennes

Players offer thoughts, plus more details on the CWHL salary structure - Eyes On The Prize
Players are happy but acknowledge there is still work to be done

Toronto Furies and Markham Thunder set pre-season schedule - Pension Plan Puppets
Early games include a home and home series

Breaking the ice; Murray eyeing national team ahead of first CWHL season | CHAT News Today!
MEDICINE HAT, AB — Kelly Murray has lived her life full of taking chances, overcoming adversity, and chasing dreams.

Markham Thunder sign free agent Alexis Woloschuk - Pension Plan Puppets
Former Boston University player leaves SDHL for CWHL

Thunderbirds to host Team China and Chinese CWHL teams in September
In late September and early October the Thunderbirds will face off against the Chinese women's national ice hockey team (Team China) and the two Chinese expansion entries in the CWHL (Canadian Women's Hockey League), the Kunlun Red Star and the Vanke Rays.

International hockey

Hockey: How one mental skills coach plans to motivate the U.S. women's team to Olympic gold
Dr. Hacker is an expert in mental skills training. She helped coach the national soccer team their first gold medal in 1995. Now can she help USA Hockey?

USWNT Trains in Oregon
The trip marked the first time that the 2017-18 national team players and staff came together as a group ahead of its move to Wesley Chapel, Florida, where the team will train together in the lead-up to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Shannon Szabados back to crack starting gig with Team Canada | WOMEN'S HOCKEY |
It should be no surprise that Shannon Szabados is part of the conversation when it comes to selecting Team Canada's women's hockey squad ahead of the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

‘I think I deserve my spot here’: Melodie Daoust talks Olympics, & CWHL - Eyes On The Prize
After a long road, the youngest member of the 2014 Olympic team looks toward 2018.

Sarah Nurse is carving her own path to Olympics with Team Canada | Calgary Herald
The name is familiar. But to the national women's hockey team, Sarah Nurse is not.

NWHL

NWHL announces coaching updates - The Ice Garden
Today the NWHL announced four updates to the league’s coaching staffs and confirmed several returning coaches.

Harrison Browne talks retirement, his comeback, and advocacy - The Ice Garden
Browne makes difficult decision to come out of retirement and return to the NWHL.

Ice Hockey: Boston Pride sign forward Corey Stearns
Corey Stearns signed with the Boston Pride on Thursday. She will make her return to competitive hockey to play in the 2017-18 season.

Rookie Litchfield Becomes Pride's 3rd Netminder
Former University of Vermont Catamount goaltender Madison Litchfield becomes the third goaltender to join the 2017-18 Boston Pride roster.

Ott's Return Means Pride Have an Iron Wall
Having re-signed Brittany Ott, the Boston Pride have their top goalie back. Combined with Brianna Laing and a solid "D", the Pride look impenetrable.

Riveters re-sign Rebecca Morse, Pride sign Heather Schwarz - The Ice Garden
The New York Riveters re-signed defender Rebecca Morse earlier today.

NCAA

Women's Hockey Top 25 Under 25 | Number 25 - Denisa Krizova - The Ice Garden
Northeastern’s Krizova kicks off our 25 Under 25

Lindenwood University - Women’s Hockey Adds Beth Hanrahan to Coaching Staff
Lindenwood women's hockey head coach Scott Spencer recently announced the addition of Beth Hanrahan to the team's coaching staff for the upcoming 2017-18 season.

Penn State women’s hockey seeks opportunity to end losing tradition | Women's Ice Hockey | collegian.psu.edu
New coach Jeff Kampersal is excited about the challenge of turning the program around.

Naisten Liiga (Finland)

Blue Monday: Blues Espoo join Naisten Liiga - The Ice Garden
Team rises after Espoo United’s dismissal to reclaim Blues name

Bundesliga (Germany)

Northeastern Huskies - Alumna Hayley Masters signs pro contract with EC Bergkamen
Northeastern women's hockey alumna Hayley Masters signed a professional contract with EC Bergkamen of the German Bundesliga, as announced by the club on Friday.

Women’s Hockey League (Russia)

Women’s Hockey Update: September 4th, 2017 | CONWAY'S RUSSIAN HOCKEY BLOG
We are just 12 days away from the opening of the 2017-18 Women's Hockey League season