News Wrap: Thoughts on the NWHL, Poulin named captain

Some huge women’s hockey news broke yesterday, as the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) announced its arrival. The four-team league, which will pay its players, is set to debut in 2015-16 with clubs in New York, Buffalo, Connecticut, and Boston. Puck Daddy’s Jen Neale has the scoop, and a full break-down of the league’s logistics.

We’re going to have to wait and see if the league will be able to a) sustain itself and b) grow. It’s encouraging that there is a plan in place, but caution is necessary here. After all, there’s a reason why a paying league doesn’t already exist in North America. Can I say with certainty that it’s going to work? No, but I really hope it does.

As much as I love covering this sport, it can sometimes be too easy to get down about it when you look ahead and realize how much work there is still left to do. I’m sure this feeling is shared by many others working in women’s hockey and women’s sports in general. This week has been especially tough in that regard, as USA Hockey confirmed that there will be no live stream available in the U.S. for the upcoming World Championships. As both a fan and a writer, it’s extremely frustrating to not be able to watch the biggest women’s hockey tournament of the year.

Stuff like that is discouraging, and it’s nothing new or rare, so sometimes I have to wonder if things are ever going to change. But the NWHL announcement signaled a bit more than just the foundation of a new league. At the heart of it, the news screams one thing: Dani Rylan, and the people working with her at the NWHL, believe strongly enough in this sport to attempt this. I’m sure a lot of people think they’re crazy, and maybe they are; but maybe they’ll be successful. Maybe this will work. We at least have to try, and keep trying, and this was a nice reminder of that.

Other News:

  • The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) released a statement on the NWHL announcement, saying that it “is taking all necessary steps and measures to protect its interests.”
  • Marie-Philip Poulin was named captain of Canada’s squad that will compete at the World Championships. Brianne Jenner, Rebecca Johnston, Lauriane Rougeau, and Natalie Spooner will assist her.

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