As the Canadian Women’s Hockey League is in the early stages of its sixth season of play, the CWHL has reached a landmark agreement with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames. This serves as a watershed moment for the growing league. The league features at least two dozen women from Canada, the United States and Europe that have competed in the Winter Games.
With CWHL crowds drawing fewer than 500 fans and team fundraisers being the bread and butter for survival, the Toronto Furies and Team Alberta franchise (known affectionately as the Honeybadgers) will be receiving support from the National Hockey League’s Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames.
A five-year agreement was reached with the Maple Leafs and the Furies. Through this agreement, the Maple Leafs will provide an annual contribution of $30,000 in an effort to help cover various team costs such as coaching, uniforms and travel.
Of even greater importance, the Maple Leafs will provide assistance to the Furies in terms of exposure courtesy of their website, promotion at Maple Leafs home games and on their network, Leafs TV. Players and coaches shall also be invited to participate in various community outreach programs that the Maple Leafs host in the community.
To commemorate the landmark event, the Maple Leafs will host a CWHL contest on November 17 at Air Canada Centre featuring the Furies and Alberta. On the topic of Alberta, the involvement of the Flames will result in several changes for the franchise. A "name the team" contest will be held to provide Team Alberta with an official nickname.
In addition, the squad will change their team colors. Currently, Team Alberta’s colors are blue, gold and white. With the Flames providing financial support, the new colors will appropriately be the Flames red, black, white and gold.
The support of two NHL franchises is a crucial step in the development of the CWHL. This new partnership with the Flames will involve cross promotion through various aspects as marketing, social media and community outreach. Season ticket holders of the Calgary Flames and other sports franchises such as the Hitmen (WHL), Roughnecks (NLL) and Stampeders (CFL) will be offered the opportunity to purchase tickets.