Women’s professional hockey in North America is in chaos. The Canadian Women’s Hockey League shut down this week, which means the only countrywide women’s hockey league left standing in North America is within the U.S. And the day before this, more than 2 hundred gamers rocked women’s hockey further employing banding together and traumatic a stable and sustainable expert league. These players, which include a number of the sector’s quality, say they may no longer play in any North American league this 12 months until that happens.
For extra on all of this, we turn now to Katie Strang of The Athletic. Welcome.
KATIE STRANG: Thank you. Thanks for having me on.
CHANG: So, how dire is the monetary state of affairs for a regular pro women’s hockey player these days?
STRANG: Yeah, it isn’t easy. And I suppose the vital aspect of doing not forget is that this isn’t always the number one gig for a maximum of these gamers. These gamers are setting a remarkable amount of time and electricity and heart into training and actually competing at a completely high degree for their teams, however also retaining ordinary day jobs as nicely…
CHANG: Because they can not have enough money to play hockey incomplete time.
STRANG: Absolutely. Absolutely.
CHANG: What does an average women’s hockey participant – an expert ladies’ hockey player – make these days?
STRANG: Well, it varies. And this is critical to hold in mind. However, iifyou take the NWHL, for example, the sole expert ladies league remaining in North America. Eacheam has an income cap of $ hundred 000 that needs to be break up among that roster and allocated. And there is typically kind of 20 players per crew.
- CHANG: Wow.
- STRANG: The lowest-paid participant in NWHL makes around $2,000.
- CHANG: For an entire season.
- STRANG: Correct.
CHANG: Wow. You understand, like, in basketball, the NBA and WNBA have a simply tight courting. Why don’t we see this equal type of courting between the NHL and women’s hockey?
STRANG: You might see that. It probably will now not be a subsequent season; however that may be a big purpose why we saw those gamers come together in solidarity on Thursday is because their preference, even though it became now not stated explicitly, is to have a league – one unified league – with NHL backing due to the fact they do trust that that could provide them the excellent financial guide, infrastructure, and platform in phrases of exposure.
CHANG: Well, why has the NHL, in the first region, been hesitant to forge a higher reference to ladies’ hockey?
STRANG: The NHL is extremely cautious of seeming paternalistic, or they do not need to offer the effect that they’re bigfooting any present-day leagues in lifestyles. So what Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, has stated repeatedly is that they will no longer get concerned unless there may be no possible alternative for gamers to play submit-collegiately in a professional sense.
CHANG: Is women’s expert hockey, even though – is it at the end financially sustainable in North America? I suggest, are there enough fans obtainable to keep it going?
STRANG: I suppose it truly is a virtually correct query and one that people are asking. We recognize that the pleasantness of the product on the ice is very thrilling. We’ve visible that during international play and opposition. But in terms of attendance, you realize, the top groups within the NWHL closing year, I think, had average attendance prices of between 1,000 and 1,2 hundred human beings in keeping with recreation.
CHANG: How does that evaluate to an NHL game?
STRANG: Ten thousand to anywhere upwards of, you understand, almost 20,000. So it’s why a whole lot of people experience like there might be NHL backing to offer it a few forms of balance – at least inside the early going – after which additionally to commit sources and increase it at a grassroots stage and generate interest amongst, you know, teenagers hockey gamers to get this issue without a doubt rolling to the point where it could sustain itself.
CHANG: Katie Strang is a senior creator for The Athletic. She joined us through Skype. Thank you very a whole lot for becoming a member of us these days.