Women’s ice hockey shined during the 2018 Olympic Winter games this year and the NHL noticed. While they forced their players to be absent from the games due to the interruption it would cause to their regular season, plus insurance and boarding costs, it fell to the ladies to go out and represent the USA on the ice. The Women’s USA team brought home the gold with their win against Canada with a score of 3-2 ending in a shootout. These girls received the second gold medal for the USA in women’s ice hockey history since 1998, which apparently piqued the interest of the National Hockey League, who found themselves thoroughly impressed by this feat.
The NHL Makes Their Case:
The NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently released a statement claiming he wanted to be a “one league-entity.” But only if the two women’s rival leagues the CWHL (Canadien Women’s Hockey League) and the NWHL (National Women’s Hockey League) became one. Cassie Campbell, a former women’s hockey player, has urged the commissioners of both leagues to make an agreement, allowing the two to become one. This could benefit both the women’s leagues by having them come together as one unstoppable force. This would mean more notoriety for the women as athletes and the potential for a better paycheck wouldn’t be bad either. The perk of having the NHL behind women’s ice hockey would be astronomical but could come at a high cost.
The Risk Factor:
But in joining the NHL, there would be added risk, which could include shutdowns due to disagreements on players salaries or the women’s league no longer being able to play in the Olympic games, for the same reason the NHL players weren’t allowed to play in the 2018 games. There’s also always the potential for the NHL to recant and back out of their deal with the women’s league in the middle of their professional season. Which would mean the women’s league has to start all over from scratch, after losing everything they built for themselves. The only way the women’s league and the NHL could come together as one would be for the women’s league to form a union. That way the NHL has to honor their needs and can’t back out of the arrangement last minute.
The CWHL commissioner Brenda Andress following the rumors and statement made by Cassie Campbell; released a statement of her own. In which she stated that her team would be following the same format they have been next season. Nothing is going to change, well at least not yet. As far as the future goes, it is still unknown if the NHL will be able to work out a deal towards their future affiliation in professional women’s ice hockey.