The National Hockey League and Canadian Women's Hockey League held meetings this past January regarding a potential partnership between the leagues for the upcoming 2010-2011 hockey season. The proposed partnership would see the NHL provide funding to pay the players $35,000 per season.
Even at this rate the total investment required from the NHL is in the $3 to $4.5 million range. For a point of reference that is less than Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs makes per season.
The reason the CWHL is proposing this partnership is, simply put, how do they improve the quality of their game without having a place for Women to get paid to play. The eventual goal for the CWHL is to attract the best Women's Hockey players from around the world.
It is best said by current CWHL player, Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux, "There are more and more young girls who want to play hockey. We're at the stage where we need to feed them, they need to know they can go somewhere in a hockey career, and someday become paid professionals. We want the league to have the best players in the world -- Russian, German, Italian. We want them to come play with us. That's the ultimate goal."
The NHLPA has a goals and dreams fund that helps with hockey programs for young boys and girls. But where do the women aspire to play professionally? Currently, there is nowhere for these players to play full time and develop their talents to the fullest potential.
Especially with the International Olympic Committe considering the removal of Women's Hockey from the Olympics, the time is now to exlicit help from numerous sources. Perhaps a well off hockey lover such as Jim Ballsille would be interested in investing in the league? Give the Women's league ten years of players being paid to play and the improvement to the product on the ice will be very noticable.
The league currently has large sponsors such as Scotiabank, Molson Canadian and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Could there be a possibility that we may see some games on Leafs TV this season? I have not heard anything to this point, but for those who would like to help please visit the CWHL website for more information.
Please comment below with your thoughts on a potential partnership between the two leagues. Also, for regular updates on the happenings in Women's Hockey and the NHL follow my blog.