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Canadian Women's Hockey League plans to expand in United States, including Chicago

CWHL league expansion task force has identified Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul as key markets for potential expansion.

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Professional women's hockey might be coming to Chicago.

The Canadian Women's Hockey League announced that their board of directors has approved recommendations of their expansion task force Friday. The group is led by former CWHL star Caitlin Cahow, who has identified Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul as key markets for potential growth.

The CWHL appears to be interested in expansion into the United States, as opposed to another team joining the Calgary Inferno in Western Canada. The only current U.S. franchise is the Boston Blades.

"Our strategic plan has always envisioned further expansion into the US market, and we are pleased that the board has shown its support to move forward at this time," said CWHL commissioner, Brenda Andress in a news release. "We will build from our success in the Boston area and enter in to talks with parties in Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul, as well as select Canadian markets. Until the CWHL, or any league, can pay players a living wage, it is incumbent on us to provide players with the opportunity to play in markets where they live, work and study."

The Chicagoland area was even represented on the 2015 USA Women's World Championship gold medal winning team by Kendall Coyne, a Palos Heights, Ill. native, who scored a goal in the goal-medal game.

Chicago already fields two successful women's professional sports teams with the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women's Soccer League and the Chicago Sky of the WNBA. The Red Stars lost the championship final in 2011 and 2012, but captured the US Women's Open Cup in 2012. And following the drafting of Elena Donne in 2013, the Sky have made it to the Eastern conference semifinals and won the conference final.

The CWHL is not expected to expand for the upcoming 2015-16 season.

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