The Canadiens Women’s Hockey League put out a press release, announcing that they will discontinue league operations as of May 1. Despite a solid product on the ice, the business side of the operation hasn’t been nearly as successful and has forced the league to disband.
The news also comes on the week of the 2019 Women’s Ice Hockey World Championships, which starts on Thursday, April 4. The CWHL, a professional hockey league that has been around since 2007, included six teams throughout Canada and China. The league had signed a number of notable female players, including U.S. Olympian Hilary Knight, who signed with the Les Canadiennes de Montreal, along with a group of others including Brianna Decker, Kacey Bellamy, and Alex Rigsby.
With new leadership that took over in 2018 behind Hockey Hall of Famer Jayna Hefford, the league was hoping to establish a more successful business model, but that didn’t happen, even as 175,000 fans tuned in to watch the Clarkson Cup last week. “This morning we were informed the CWHL is folding. As players, we will do our best to find a solution so this isn’t our last season of hockey but it’s hard to remain optimistic,” stated the Calgary Inferno’s Rebecca Leslie today.
The National Women’s Hockey League, is now the only professional women’s league in North America. The NWHL has five teams in the United States. There remains a possibility that the NWHL could absorb some of if not all of the former CWHL teams, but such a move is not imminent.