Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames Help Settle Debt of Defunct CWHL

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames Help Settle Debt of Defunct CWHL

Article excerpt

NHL, Leafs and Flames help settle CWHL debt

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The NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames are among contributors helping the defunct Canadian Women's Hockey League settle its debts.

The Ontario Women's Hockey Association, Hockey Canada and other private donations also helped the CWHL clear its books.

"The CWHL is in the process of paying everyone and will be able to close in an orderly fashion," CWHL board chair Laurel Walzak said Tuesday in a letter that called the donations "large and critical."

The letter wrote on behalf of the CWHL board detailed the demise of the league and what a women's hockey league requires to survive.

The six-team CWHL ran for 12 seasons and gave the stars of women's hockey a league of their own.

The Clarkson Cup -- donated by former governor general Adrienne Clarkson -- was awarded annually to the winning team.

But the league was in "severe financial distress" on April 1, Walzak said.

Licensing fees from the addition of two Chinese teams allowed the CWHL to begin paying players between $2,000 and $10,000 in 2017-18.

The merger of those teams the following season reduced that revenue stream, however. A source has also told The Canadian Press that China wanted to renegotiate the licensing fees.

"The League announced it was winding down one week after the Clarkson Cup because the League had payments due April first and was forecasting a significant deficit and believed based on response from the corporate marketplace that revenue would not increase materially in the upcoming 2019-2020 season," Walzak wrote.

Walzak wrote that $5 million to $6 million was required to keep the CWHL running, and closer to $10 million was needed for a fully functional pro league.

The U.S.-based NWHL that sprung up in 2015 "fragmented the potential sponsorship dollars," she added.

The five-team NWHL continues operate, but roughly 200 players including the female game's stars refuse to play in it. …

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