We have some shocking news to report.
According to a breaking news report directly from the Canadian Women's Hockey League's Board of Directors, the league is shutting down effectively immediately. As one of the largest female hockey league's in the world this is a huge blow to women's hockey and perhaps the most discouraging part of the announcement is that it comes off the heels of the CWHL's most successful season ever.
Here is the official announcement in feel and unedited from the CWHL's official website:
The Board of Directors of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) has made the decision to discontinue operations effective May 1, 2019. Unfortunately, while the on-ice hockey is exceptional, the business model has proven to be economically unsustainable.
New management, led by Jayna Hefford, and the new Board, put in place in Summer & Fall 2018 respectively, have proactively worked with our contract staff, players, GM’s, industry partners and corporate sponsors to establish an adequate revenue base, good governance, and high-quality hockey on the ice. Unfortunately the business model that has been the foundation of the League is not sustainable financially.
Founded in 2007 by players and members of the community, the League’s mandate was to grow the sport of women’s hockey, and to that extent it more than achieved its goal.
Last week 175,000 fans tuned in to watch the 12th edition of the Clarkson Cup, a new record for viewership, and the game delivered. Women’s hockey is fast, skilled, and generally high scoring, making for excellent entertainment.
We thank our fans for cheering on their favourite player and favourite teams, our sponsors for helping fund the growth of women’s hockey, and our partnerships with the NHLPA, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Calgary Flames. We would like to acknowledge the management and players of Team KRS for their commitment to the CWHL and growth of women’s hockey in China, and Ontario Women’s Hockey Association, Hockey Canada, and the NHL for their support.
The contract staff, contractors, coaches, and athletes of the CWHL are an inspiration to women around the world, and under Jayna Hefford’s leadership this season we have seen a new levels of success, new energy and credibility to the game.
There's no word on what will happen to the franchises in the league or their players moving forward, but perhaps the NWHL will have some interest in bringing some of those organization into the fold, although that is nothing but speculation on my part at this point. No question this is a sad day for women's hockey, but you can hardly blame the CWHL for making this move if they were in fact losing money even in their most successful season to date.