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BC-HKW--CWHL Folds,1st Ld-Writethru

March 31, 2019
The Canadian Women’s Hockey League will discontinue operations on May 1. The league announced the news a week after the 12th edition of its championship game, the Clarkson Cup. The league said in a statement that its “business model has proven to be economically unsustainable.” The CWHL was founded in 2007 and has six teams — four in Canada, one in the United States and one in Shenzhen, China.

TORONTO (AP) — The Canadian Women’s Hockey League will discontinue operations on May 1, the league announced Sunday.

A week after the Calgary Inferno won the league championship and hoisted the Clarkson Cup trophy, the CWHL said in Toronto that the 12-year-old league will discontinue operations May 1.

“Unfortunately, while the on-ice hockey is exceptional, the business model has proven to be economically unsustainable,” the league said in a statement.

The CWHL was founded in 2007, and had six teams in North America and China this past season.

The league included national team players from the United States, Canada, Finland, Japan and China.

“I’m heartbroken at the news of the (hash)CWHL folding,” Calgary Inferno forward Brianne Jenner said on Twitter.

“Hard to process this after our most successful season to date. Thank you to the builders, players, coaches, GMs, fans that made it possible for 12 seasons. We will rebound from this.”

Sami Jo Small, who co-founded the league in 2007, was hired as general manager of the Toronto Furies last summer.

“I have no idea what this means for the future, but this is heartbreaking,” Small tweeted. “We will work hard to ensure there is still women’s hockey in Toronto.”

Inferno forward Blayre Turnbull and Les Canadiennes de Montreal forward Marie-Philip Poulin posted identical reaction on Twitter:

“This morning we were informed the (hash)CWHL is folding. As players, we will do our best to find a solution so this isn’t our last season of hockey but it’s hard to remain optimistic. (hash)NoLeague.”

The CWHL operates like the MLS in that the league owns the teams.

Former player Jayna Hefford was appointed interim commissioner last year when Brenda Andress stepped down.

The CWHL began paying its players’ salaries in 2017-18 ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, out of a total budget of $3.7 million.

The addition of two expansion teams in China that season — since combined into one — was believed to have added significant dollars into the CWHL.

But the CWHL lost a major financial backer in November when longtime supporter Graeme Roustan withdrew the sponsorship of his venture capital firm Roustan Capital.

And the new coach of the Chinese women’s team hinted recently that he hopes the players soon won’t have to travel internationally to develop into better players.

“I think the biggest goal now is to have a league or some competitions here in China where we can play good games,” Jakob Kolliker told China Daily.

″It’s important for the future.”