June 19, 2015
TORONTO, Ont. – The CWHL announced today that its board has approved the recommendations of its expansion task force, which was charged with exploring opportunities to expand the five team league in to new markets.
The task force, chaired by CWHL alumna and US Olympian, Caitlin Cahow, recommended to the board that it explore expansion in markets where there is a critical mass of elite level female hockey players who are not presently playing at the professional level. Notably, the task force identified that the US Midwest was the prime market for expansion as it best met the criteria defined by the league’s research.
“Our strategic plan has always envisioned further expansion in to 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. “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 CWHL has received unsolicited proposals from groups in many markets, but now, with its expansion criteria clearly defined, it will be asking potential partners to meet the league’s standards for expansion against a variety of metrics: facilities; season ticket sales; alignment/partnership with local NHL franchise; sponsorship; and community engagement in grass roots female hockey.
The league does not anticipate adding a sixth team for the 15/16 season but has left the door open to doing so if terms can be agreed to.