The National Women's Hockey League plans to launch this fall, and unlike the current professional women's hockey league, the Canadian Women's Hockey League, the NWHL will compensate its players.
Looks like NWHL (National Womens Hockey League) will launch with 4 teams — NY, Boston, Connecticut, Buffalo. Logos! pic.twitter.com/SClKeUhkJG— Travis Hughes (@TravisSBN) March 26, 2015
The CWHL, which has teams in Boston, Montreal, Calgary, Toronto and Brampton, Ont. does not currently compensate players. Boston will now have two women's hockey teams, and the NWHL's Boston Pride may fair better financially as the CWHL's Boston Blades are the only U.S. team in the league and have to travel more.
The New York Riveters will play out of Long Island, N.Y., while the Connecticut Whale will play in Stamford, Conn. The league will play 18 games once a week (think NFL scheduling, but during the week) from October to February, per Mike Burse. A streaming package will be available in October for the regular-season.
According to a NWHL press release, this is how players will be drafted:
"Only Junior and Senior [college] players will be eligible to register for the 2015 NWHL Entry Draft.
All other players who have completed a college degree will be considered free agents.
Free Agency begins on March 15, 2015. Teams can offer one-year contracts to free agents for reasonable salaries. Free agency ends August 25, 2015. If a player has not signed by then, she is ineligible to play of the 2015-16 season."
This is a big step forward for women's hockey, and with all but one NCAA championship (Clarkson in 2014) won by Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota or Wisconsin; it wouldn't be too far off to think about a Midwest team in the NWHL.
The NWHL will host a launch party on Monday, April 13 at 7 p.m. at the Sunset Terrace at Chelsea Piers in New York.
What NWHL team will you cheer for or will you wait until the Midwest has a team?